By Ava F. Hall
Bullying has always been an issue in high school and likely always will be. However, with the problem-solving methods of the No Bully Solutions Team (NBST), the frequency and intensity of the bullying of students at Novato High School can be reduced.
“The No Bully Solutions team is a student based teacher facilitated group that helps us deal with bullying by students solving the problem and looking at the plan that can eliminate the mistreatment of their peers,” said Ms. Schumikowski, a teacher and head of the No Bully Solutions Team at Novato High School.
The solutions team includes the bully, the bully’s followers, and other positive peers in the school. The target can attend the final meetings if they choose to do so. The program also has a service of 30 teachers opening their classrooms for students to express their problems individually. This program was adopted last year at Novato High School, and will be in frequent use throughout the 2016- 2017 school year.
The NBST methods have proven to be very successful, as the program is being used all over the country. In a report compiled from 186 solution teams, 93.4% of bullying cases were reduced in intensity, and 43% of participants experienced a total cease of bullying in their lives through the program (No Bully Solution Team: Outcomes Evaluation 2012-14). Overall, the No Bully Solutions Team has been extremely effective in the termination or downplay of harassment.
There are actions that have similar goals to the solution team such as Peer Court or NHS Policy. Examples of this policy include referrals, detention, suspension or even expulsion. However, the solutions team is much different.
“It’s not there for punishment, it's there for problem solving,” said Schumikowski.
The solutions team takes a growth-mindset approach to bullying, making bullying a problem to solve, not discipline. However, some students around campus are apprehensive about this new program.
“If they [students] are victimized at home or are victimized here, they're not going to want to or be able to seek help,” said a Novato freshman, who wishes to remain anonymous.
These doubts are valid. Many students are nervous about giving personal information to their teachers, and would rather speak to their peers. Ms. Schumikowski says she understands.
“If they [students] find that just collaborating with their peers is enough, then that's the point in the first place,” she says. “That's happening without adult intervention, that's perfect.”
For more information, visit https://www.inpatientdrugrehab.org/cyberbullying-substance-abuse/.