The rate of bullying in schools is alarming. Peer bullying (PB), is the most frequent and faced by various groups of students, for instance, the physically challenged, the younger student, and girls (Ladd, Ettekal, & Kochenderfer-Ladd, 2017). The school climate regarding bullying involves social interactions whereby students interact with each other including the bullies, victims, non-victims, and interaction between these students and the teacher (Wan et al., 2014).. The school management is the body responsible for creating a favorable school climate. Both management and organizational culture play a role in determining there is an interactive environment for all students regardless of their social and physical differences (Declan, 2014). For example, the school management and the federal guidelines have provided schools with rules to protect the special students, for instance, the physically challenged (Samuels, 2017). Having the school policies and rules in place has not effectively reduced the rate of bullying and the weaker victims still face repeated act of aggression. Bullying is a common phenomenon that requires strategies to curb its effects. The effects of bullying are diverse, and they are attributed to poor child development, low self-control, and poor impulsivity in adults. Other problems associated with bullying include attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) as well as its correlated conditions for instance conduct disorder (CD), and oppositional disorder (ODD) (Reid,et al., 2016). Interventions to prevent bullying such as disciplinary actions by the management have not worked effectively, and therefore more effective interventions are necessary to curb the effects of bullying on the victims. To solve this problem, therefore, this paper will address the implementation of a social-ecological framework approach in reducing the rate of bullying in schools.
Social-ecological framework approach is an effective way of reducing bullying in schools. According to Ayers, Wagaman, Geiger, Bermudez-Parsai, and Hedberg, (2012), schools have been trying to address bullying through different approaches although they have not found a specific intervention that can effectively address this problem. Most schools have applied disciplinary actions to stop and prevent bullying which has failed to eliminate the behavior fully. The school programs have taken into account some measures to solve bullying cases including the application of a problem-solving approach in which they use peer mediation and counseling. The problem-solving approach has less impact on ensuring peer interactions and environmental factors. Again, the disciplinary actions also apply rules and sanctions approaches whereby the school officials use administrative policies such as clear tolerance and clear outline of punishments for bullies. The researches concerning anti-bullying interventions are very extensive and with mixed findings. The ineffectiveness of school-based anti-bullying programs is based on their deficiencies of evidence-based practice (Ayers et al., 2012). One of the deficiencies of school disciplinary rules and anti-bullying programs is the reoccurrence of bullying cases shortly after the disciplinary actions. Again, there is no evidence that zero-tolerance policies stop bullying in schools. Additionally, strict adherences to using of anti-bullying programs that apply disciplinary sanctions have been shown to be effective in addressing the bullying problems. My critique of these approaches is that disciplinary sanctions don't create a peaceful environment within the school environment and this leaves a gap concerning the effectiveness of the anti-bullying programs.
This framework applies the social-ecological theory that has described how students live and interact with each other. According to this theory, students in schools exist and socialize within a complex ecological system that has three interrelated systems namely the microsystem, mesosystem, and macrosystem (Ayers et al., 2012). The systems influence how students interrelate with the environment, the relationship between the systems and the broader forces and factors that influence student's behavior. The above systems can be used to influence, establish and maintain a pro-social behavior among students as well as inhibiting antisocial behavior. The impact of these systems on the children's behaviors is effective enough to solve the bullying behavior (Ayers et al., 2012). The first reason why I propose this approach to solve the problem in our schools is that children who bully others have individual characteristics that predispose them to the act in that manner, for example, the unempathetic students. The social-ecological framework helps the management in understanding the variety of behaviors. The second reason for applying this approach is because it has expanded the ecosystem in which the student's bullies are exposed by involving parents in solving the problem. Lack of parental involvement in the child's life can be linked to aggressive behavior. Parents also provide a neutral environment regarding the disciplinary actions taken by teachers to address the bullying behavior. Thirdly, the social-ecological framework is effective in putting up measures that can be used to shape student's behavior as compared to the other approaches that employ policies measures that have been shown to create more rivalry between students. The anti-bullying interventions that are applied in this approach involve creating a peaceful and a socially effective climate among students.
This implementation plans to eliminate the use of school programs and policies that are applied in disciplining students for bullying. In my approach, the social-ecological framework will be implemented to sole bullying problems in the schools. According to Ayers et al., (2012), this framework assumes that not all disciplinary strategies can be equally successful in addressing bullying. Instead, this framework employs strategies that integrate the interconnected systems of student's lives because they are more effective in decreasing the likelihood of the students to repeat the actions as well as aggressive behavior. In this plan, there are no disciplinary strategies that will expel the student from the school compound including the classroom through in or out of suspension or by spending time in the office for punishment. Such disciplinary actions may not deter the reoccurrence of bullying and aggressive behaviors. Another action plan is to use disciplinary strategies that will inhibit privileged interactions with peers within the school compound. Peers take advantage of the time when they happen to interact with the younger students outside the classrooms. Again, outside the classrooms, students are involved in many activities including games, and therefore it's an advantage for the peers to bully the other students in many ways. Another action plan is implementing disciplinary strategies that will involve parents, administrators, and teachers. This method will ensure there is a parent-teacher conference which can be effective in preventing the reoccurrence of bullying and aggressive behaviors among the peer students.
This plan will be successful in preventing and eliminating bullying behaviors among the peer students because it applies disciplinary strategies that will reduce the likelihood of the students repeating the bullying behavior. In this plan also, it focuses on reducing collision between the peer students and the younger ones. For one reason, children are expected to be weak in understanding, and therefore they are prone to apply their ego in every situation. The peers behave aggressively to show their capacity or to proof that they are stronger than the rest. Minimizing the social interaction between the peer students and the younger ones will be a successful way of reducing reoccurrence of the bullying cases after disciplinary actions. Additionally, this plan will be successful because the presence of a parent during the disciplinary sessions plays a role in guiding and shaping the student's behavior.
Distinguishing the Solution
The social-ecological approach is different from the other solutions used in addressing and reducing the bullying behavior. First, this solution has narrowed down the bullying problem to first solve its complexities regarding the student's behavior. In the other solutions, they employ programs that involve policies and rules to discipline the students who happen to be bullying others without understanding the root of the problem. By analyzing the cause of a problem, it is easier to put up measures that will effectively solve and prevent the problem. Another difference is that this solution has taken a better approach to creating a better environment rather than making the students learns the hard way. Considering the other solutions where disciplinary actions involve suspending the students out of the school and punishments there are no measures of reducing reoccurrence of bullying. Additionally, this approach has also involved parents in addressing the problem which is a better strategy for shaping the student's behavior both in school and outside the school. I believe that you cannot develop the behavior of a child by many punishments, but you can influence the behavior by creating a social climate that will allow change such as talking to the child and making them understand their mistakes. Finally, this approach will develop a pro-social behavior and inhibit antisocial behaviors rather than creating rivals among the children through disciplinary actions that are used in other solutions (Ayers et al., 2012).
The solutions of applying policies and rules that are meant to punish students cannot prevent reoccurrence of social behaviors. Again, social behaviors are facilitated by the environment and therefore creating a pleasant climate for students to socialize and help each other will address the problem as well as preventing their reoccurrence.
Steps in Operationalizing
To implement this solution, the school management will be fully responsible for creating a disciplinary committee that will be used when dealing with bullying cases. One of the major steps for creating this committee will be training the staffs on how to understand and deal with social behavior. Another major step is involving school administrators and parents in the committee to facilitate neutrality and avoid bias when setting up rules and regulations to govern the disciplinary actions. Again, the school management lead by the school principal will also involve two or three students among the peers in the committee. The role of the peer students is to ensure their fellow students behave according to the school regulations by influencing them through acting as examples. A minor step concerning the disciplinary action is that parents whose students are involved in the bullying behavior will be included when addressing the case. The disciplinary committee will be led by the school principal or their deputy, and it will always be carried out within the school compound. This committee will begin by setting up the disciplinary strategies including how and when to address a bullying case.
Following the implementation of this solution, one of the deliverables is creating a better climate for peer students involved in bullying to understand their mistakes and correct their behaviors. By using this solution, it will reduce the likelihood of reoccurrence of bullying behavior and aggressive behavior as well. One of the challenges concerning other solutions where they apply punishment as a disciplinary action increases the chances of reoccurrence. Another deliverable is the establishment of a social confer...
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