GOOD

Forget School Assemblies: This Is A Better Way To End Bullying

Kids say teachers are more fair, too.

There’s a reason one of the best-selling young-adult novels of the 21st century is titled Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life. Between raging hormones, first crushes, cliques, and bullies, the sixth through eighth grade years have a well-earned reputation as a hellscape. Sure, schools often hold assemblies where an adult on stage lectures kids about why they shouldn’t tease their peers, but those one-off events don’t usually lead to lasting change.


Now a study by researchers at UCLA suggests a more effective way to reduce harassment and help tweens and teens feel safer and more included: integrated schools.

[quote position="left" is_quote="true"]Students feel safer in ethnically diverse classrooms and schools.[/quote]

“Bullying likely occurs in nearly every school, and many students are concerned about their safety,” Jaana Juvonen, a UCLA professor of psychology and the study’s lead author said in a statement. “But our analysis shows students feel safer in ethnically diverse classrooms and schools.”

For the study, published Tuesday in the journal Child Development, Juvonen and her team studied 4,302 sixth graders at 26 middle schools across California. The 11- and 12-year-old students came from four racial and ethnic backgrounds—black, white, Asian-American, and Latino—and all were from low-income or middle-class homes.

The researchers asked students to rate how safe or unsafe they felt on campus, if they were being harassed on campus, whether they felt lonely, how close they felt to students from other backgrounds, and if they felt their teachers interacted with all students fairly. As a school’s diversity increased. “African American, Latino, Asian, and White youth all reported less social vulnerability, defined as feeling safer at school, less victimized, and less lonely,” the researchers wrote.

Juvonen, who has conducted previous research on bullying, said a more integrated student population helps kids get along with each other. “When ethnic groups are of relatively equal size, there may be more of a balance of power,” she said. But it’s not enough to have diverse kids in the same building if they’re segregated due to tracking, with white kids being the bulk of students in advanced courses.

[quote position="full" is_quote="true"]Instruction needs to be organized so that students’ classes reflect the overall diversity of their school.[/quote]

“School diversity by itself is only half of the story,” said Sandra Graham, a UCLA professor of education who also worked on the study. “To reap the social benefits of ethnic diversity, instruction needs to be organized so that students’ classes reflect the overall diversity of their school.” Indeed, the more racially and ethnically diverse classrooms were, the more likely students were to say that teachers were more fair to everyone.

The study’s findings add to the mountain of research about the benefits—everything from higher academic achievement levels to being prepared for the global economy—of diverse schools. But segregated schools are also becoming both more common and perceived as socially acceptable. Given that about 13 million kids nationwide report being bullied every year, it sure seems like it would be in students’ best interest if we chose to reverse the resegregation trend.

Education

When former Pittsburgh Steelers' center Mike Webster committed suicide in 2002, his death began to raise awareness of the brain damage experienced by NFL football players. A 2017 study found that 99% of deceased NFL players had a degenerative brain disease known as CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy). Only one out of 111 former football players had no sign of CTE. It turns out, some of the risks of traumatic brain injury experienced by heavily padded adults playing at a professional level also exist for kids with developing brains playing at a recreational level. The dangers might not be as intense as what the adults go through, but it can have some major life-long consequences.

A new PSA put out by the Concussion Legacy Foundation raises awareness of the dangers of tackle football on developing brains, comparing it to smoking. "Tackle football is like smoking. The younger I start, the longer I am exposed to danger. You wouldn't let me smoke. When should I start tackling?" a child's voice can be heard saying in the PSA as a mother lights up a cigarette for her young son.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore / Flickr

On Tuesday morning, President Trump tweeted about some favorable economic numbers, claiming that annual household income is up, unemployment is low, and housing prices are high.

Now, just imagine how much better those numbers would be if the country wasn't mired in an economy-killing trade war with China, bleeding out trillion-dollar-a-year debts, and didn't suffer from chaotic leadership in the Oval Office?

At the end of tweet, came an odd sentence, "Impeach the Pres."

Keep Reading Show less
Politics

October is domestic violence awareness month and when most people think of domestic violence, they imagine mostly female victims. However, abuse of men happens as well – in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. But some are taking it upon themselves to change all that.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

At this point most reasonable people agree that climate change is a serious problem. And while a lot of good people are working on solutions, and we're all chipping in by using fewer plastic bags, it's also helpful to understand where the leading causes of the issue stem from. The list of 20 leading emitters of carbon dioxide by The Guardian newspaper does just that.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
via International Labour Organization / Flickr and Michael Moore / Facebook

Before the release of "The Joker" there was a glut of stories in the media about the film's potential to incite violence.

The FBI issued a warning, saying the film may inspire violence from a group known as the Clowncels, a subgroup of the involuntarily celibate or Incel community.

Incels an online subculture who believe they are unable to attract a sexual partner. The American nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center describes them as "part of the online male supremacist ecosystem" that is included in its list of hate groups.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture