Marin anti-bullying program honored

Marin is getting serious about stopping school bullies. A program currently in place at Marin schools that works to combat bullying won an international award from Ashoka, a Virginia-based social entrepreneurship group.

The program, called No Bully, creates sustainable solutions to combat bullying, harassment and violence in schools. It’s currently implemented in all of Marin’s major school districts.

The San Francisco-based program was selected as one of two winners from a pool of 628 entries from 74 countries in a contest titled, “Activating Empathy: Transforming Schools to Teach What Matters.”

No Bully has trained over 100 teachers, administrators, counselors and other school employees in Marin county to enforce the program’s anti-bullying approach.

Nicholas Carlisle, executive director for No Bully, explained how the system works:

“We train educators how to bring together a solution team of students and leverage their empathy to end the bullying of one of their peers. The educator…describes how it feels to be in the target’s shoes and asks the team what they can do to resolve this situation.”

Carlisle told the Marin IJ:

“In nearly every case if you lay out to students that one of the students is really suffering, they feel compelled to do something about it.”

A 2010 independent research study in Bay Area schools found that No Bully-trained educators who used solution teams to resolve incidents of student bullying achieved an 80 percent success rate. Also, a 2012 evaluation found that solution teams succeed in 88 percent of bullying cases.

Within the next year the district will work with No Bully to further address bullying in high schools, including focusing on online bullying and the targeting of gay and transgendered students. The program is also moving to expand to Sonoma and Humboldt County schools.