A Pro-Kindness Approach
Rachel’s Challenge is an anti-bullying non-profit that delivers assemblies to schools, businesses and communities in order to inspire and equip participants with the tools needed to create positive permanent change.
Youth mental health threats are illuminating a significant need for actionable solutions for students in a post-pandemic world.
How to Stop Bullying in Schools
What is Bullying?
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and the US Department of Education, bullying is defined as any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners, that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance, and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated.
Bullying is displayed in many different forms:
In an effort to create a safer environment for students, Rachel’s Challenge aims to empower them with the knowledge of how to handle bullying with effective interventions. All assemblies are meant to be interactive and enable everyone in attendance with skills for proactive actions regarding creating a positive culture within any institution or organization they belong to.
Where and When Does Bullying Happen?
Bullying can occur during school or after-school hours, inside or outside of the school. According to a 2019 publication from the US Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics, bullying in schools most often happens in the classroom, hallway, or stairwell, but it also occurs in the cafeteria, outside on school grounds, the bathroom or locker rooms, as well as the school bus.
Bullying can also occur online and via text messages, and this is most often referred to as cyberbullying.
Student Reports of Bullying: Results From the 2017 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through our digitally-connected electronic devices such as computers, cell phones, and tablets. It most often involves sending, posting, or sharing negative, untrue, and/ or hurtful content about someone else, which could also include personal or private information resulting in humiliation or embarrassment.
The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:
Who Does Bullying Affect and How Does It Affect Them?
Bullying not only affects kids who are bullied, but also those who display the bullying behavior as well as the bystanders who witness bullying take place. Bullying can have a direct negative impact on one’s mental health, even resulting in substance abuse and suicide.
Kids who are bullied can experience depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness, isolation and loneliness, changes in their eating and sleeping patterns, and even a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. It can also negatively affect their physical health and lead to decreased academic achievement. Kids who are regularly targeted by bullies find it harder to make friends and struggle maintaining healthy relationships. They are also more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school. Bystanders are affected in much the same way.
Kids who bully others are more likely to engage in violence and other risky behaviors that can continue even when they are adults.
High School Students
Tweens (Ages 9-12)
Student Demographic Breakdown
Preventing bullying from happening is challenging, but not impossible. The CDC has outlined specific ways to help prevent bullying and violence, including:
Rachel’s Challenge exists to inspire and equip every person to create a permanent positive change not only in themselves, but in their schools, their businesses and their communities. It offers students who have been bullied, students who have displayed bullying behavior, as well as bystanders who witness bullying hope that things can get better, while providing them with the tools to connect with their peers and educators by going out of their way to reach out to others through kindness and compassion.
Rachel’s Challenge provides a sustainable, evidence-based framework for positive climate and culture in our schools. Disciplinary referrals go down by as much as 65%. Climate satisfaction – and test scores – go up. Fully implemented, partner schools achieve statistically significant gains in community engagement, faculty/student relationships, leadership potential, and school climate; along with reductions in bullying, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use. Students report feeling safer, having a deeper awareness of themselves and others, and being more emotionally resilient as a result of having Rachel’s Challenge in their school.
Rachel’s Challenge has helped me continue my chain reaction an entire decade later. Today, as I cultivate my “save the world gene” as a young professional, I am reminded of where it began. With kindness and compassion.”
Rachel’s Challenge Student
Rachel’s Challenge is the most powerful intervention I’ve seen in my 40 years of educational research.”
Dr. Robert Marzano
Educator, Researcher, Author
Rachel’s Challenge stimulates academic and social emotional-learning by focusing on the connection between students, faculties and staff.”
Principal, Rice Lake High School