Sunday, February 21, 2016

Anti-Bullying VS Bullying Prevention - The Important Difference Nobody is Talking About

Being targeted for bullying stinks.

For those of us who know the pain of the repeated teasing, taunting, exclusion and cruelty, it is something we cannot easily forget.  However, there is hope.  My organization has been successfully teaching men, women and children how to handle bullying for nearly 30 years in practical ways.  But this doesn't happen if you accept the myths, distortions and misguided approach of the current anti-bully movement.

The current media hyped anti-bullying approach is failing.  It fails students, teachers and worse, the vulnerable among us who need the most help.  Every major study continues to show the failed process and policies, yet they continue.  FACT: The anti-bullying approach fails.  Peace education with character and leadership development works again and again.

You have probably seen the school rallies, anti-bully posters in hallways and the witch hunt of finding, reporting and punishing all "bullies". Your children most likely have already been exposed to this ideology.

Why Does The Anti Bullying Movement Fail?
1. It's a circular blame game.  Students blame students, parents blame teachers, teachers blame parents, then eventually,  the administration.  This can and has led to nasty legal disputes and costly litigation.  The finger pointing is endless, despite the good intentions.

2. The very definition of bullying continually changes.  To date, there exists no standardized definition for bullying.  Every self proclaimed expert and presenter has his or her own definition.  However, bullying is not a clinical diagnosis, rather, it is a social label.   How can we teach children that name calling is wrong and yet label people (children) bullies?

Furthermore the definition has expanded to be so broad that it makes diagnosis problematic and an ever increasing host of victims.   (A common tactic for those who would profit from promoting such ideas.) This has led to such alarmist fear mongering as "bullying epidemic" and "bully-cide", none of which are scientific.

3. The anti-bully movement is a punitive process, not a peace process.  The very method seeks to vilify certain individuals, usually without any due investigation nor consideration.  It lacks wisdom, intelligence and is rooted in revenge, rather than education.  Revenge is a nasty business that harms on many levels.  Much evil has been done in this world in the name of rationalized revenge.

4. The anti-bully movement promotes victim culture.  Rather than offering specific steps on how to create peace, virtually every anti-bullying recommendation escalates a situation.  Not only does this create more and increasingly complex problems, it harms, rather than protects, those involved.  For even if they are spared from this one incident of bullying, they are left ill equipped for others in the future.  The only recourse they are given is to tell.  This is no solution - it is an escalating ignition point.  Additionally, if you create heroes out of victims,  you will get more of them.

5. The anti-bully movement promotes division with the very people who could facilitate positive change.  The anti-bullying movement does not build bridges, compassion, understanding and peace - instead it uses tactics that are punitive and usually augment the problems.  A movement motivated by anger and hate is not one we can perpetuate if we want peace and respectful protection for all.

6. The anti-bully movement takes away individuals dignity.  From the accused to the accuser, they are sucked into a vortex of overly sweeping policies and the individual is quickly forgotten as the self proclaimed crusaders helicopter into action.  The targeted child can often receive the unintended message that they are incapable of problem solving, protecting themselves or being resourceful. When a child is labeled a tattle tale, it can equate to a social death that they have to live with on a day to day basis.

7.  It is too easy to abuse.  Socially intelligent children are often the ones exhibiting aggressive behavior.  Once they pick up on these policies they learn that they can claim victim status, tell on another student and bully by proxy.  They simply get the adults to do their dirty work through manipulation of these labels and policies.

8.  The anti-bullying movement also demonizes bystanders and sweeps them into a guilty verdict without allowing for any other personal choices.  Now if a child see an incident and does nothing,  he or she is as guilty as the offending "bully".  This process turns children on one another, becoming like a Police state, where suspicion and accusation are the rule of law.  Hitler Youth anyone?

9.  The anti-bullying movement promotes alarmism and a culture of fear surrounding normal childhood aggression.  This in turn causes many to rush to judgment and limits our ability to resolve the real underlying problems and help the ones who need sound adult wisdom the most.

10.  One look at the bullying statistics and any critical thinker will be confused by such wildly inconsistent data and distortions in the name of science.  It is anything but science, especially when you read the manipulative surveys and tactics used to collect the information.

In sharp contrast... 

John Nottingham's BullyProof Vest Bullying prevention education is entirely the opposite of the so called anti-bullying approach.

It is pro-active rather than simply reactive, creating a culture of peace, responsibility, respect, resourcefulness, empowerment, and self esteem.

Bully Proof  training is careful about the language and assumptions it uses for understanding conflict, aggression and a full spectrum of behaviors. It therefore protects the dignity and reputation of all involved with a more patient, balanced and caring approach to children.

BullyProof training approaches children with a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset and labeling approach.  It equips children with skills and tools to contextualize aggression, bad behavior and offers functional solutions to effectively resolve it.  Children are taught that building bridges is more powerful than revenge and damning labels.

BullyProof training operates on a peace process that works to create a cooperative, respectful culture and safe space for students to learn, speak freely and respect others opinions and ideals (even to disagree).

BullyProof empowers children to be resourceful problem solvers and build self esteem and empowerment through peace education and training.

If you would like to learn more about our BullyProof Vest peace process, verbal judo, and self defense empowerment approach, contact us at

Bullying Statistics, Solutions, Best Practices
The Phoenix BullyProof Project
Bullying Prevention Initiative International
Arizona Bullying Prevention Project
Partners in Education
Break The Chain of Child Abuse Foundation
The Black Belt Society
USA Martial Arts Phoenix
Nottingham Sword & Shield Security Bodyguards
The Arizona Bully Project – A Bully Proof Educational Initiative
4731 E. Greenway Rd Suite 9
Phoenix, Arizona 85032
Telephone (602) 896-8721
Facebook Arizona Bully Education Project