Bullying is a problem for many schools and takes a lot of hard work to stamp out. And luckily a lot of schools are doing a lot about it already. As we can see in various American posts on the subject of bullying many different initiatives have been implemented to prevent bullying in schools (see post). For example the Positive Behavior Intervention System, amendments in each school’s code of conduct, the DASA training system etc. All of these are proactive systems for preventing bullying in the school system. But what exactly is being done proactively about bullying in Denmark since the number of bullying are decreasing (see post)?
I believe that there for a number of years have been problems with the proactive initivatives in the Danish school system. There have been good reactive initiatives, but not enough was being done to prevent bullying. But back in 2008 the Minister of Education at the time, Bertel Haarder, gathered all the concerned participants – teachers, parents, municipality, heads, students, pedagogues and other important key figures and professionals. This was done to create the campaign called “Sammen mod mobning” (which best could be translated as “together against bullying”). Mary Fonden (crown princess Mary’s foundation) and the Department of Education earmarked around 530.000 Euros for this project which aimed to get more schools to formulate an effective policy against bullying (which surprisingly many schools did not have at the time) and to work systematically with creating an awareness that bullying is a mutual responsibility to overcome. Specifically they (among other things):
- made a webpage with tools for bullying (sammenmodmobning.dk)
- arranged an anti-bullying camp for all the personnel mentioned above
- established for parents to become ambassadors of well-being to envolve them more in their children’s school life
- gave the students seminars on how to stop bullying
Aside from all of these initiatives you will find a lot more not financed by the Department of Education. For instance a campaign “God tone” (translated: “good form”) focussing on everyday language among class mates. Another campaign that I myself have been envolved in is “Projekt den gode skole” (translated: “project; the good school”), which was a dramaturgical campaign focussing on getting pupils to recognise bullying and helping them to know when and how to intervene. Moreover there are various voluntary groups visiting schools to talk to and educate pupils on anti-bullying (ex. The Mob Squad).
According to “Dansk Center for Undervisningsmiljø” (translated: Danish Centre for Educational Environment) prevention is the most important part of these school policies, which is why it is so essential for the schools to have them in the first place. So whenever I read (see post) that some schools or districts are drowning in policies, it sounds to me like there is a need to look the original policies over and really fine-tune them so they fit the modern school system.
I believe the above-mentioned initiatives were really needed in the Danish school system. And after having spent some years implementing them the numbers of victims of bullying are finally decreasing. So something is working. Maybe it is the enhanced focus on bullying, maybe it is one of the specific initiatives – unfortunately the statistics does not specify that.