Frequently Asked Questions:
1. What is the “Not On My Watch” Bullying Prevention Program?
The purpose of this program is to reduce bullying incidents in your school, and to initiate a systemic prevention network within the school community. Workshops teach students social skills, models specific actions, and demonstrates ways of being and behaving that can empower students to reduce peer-harassment as well as self-harm. “Not On My Watch” serves as a catalyst to support a peer-led intervention to alter school culture around bullying. Workshop surveys are used to assess school and community specific needs, and to capture data unique to each school’s social and ecological frameworks, a practice recommended in leading bullying prevention research (Swearer, Espelage, Vaillancourt & Hymel, 2010). NOMW is a program that was developed by a non-profit community organization called NVEEE based in South Florida.
Student workshops are conducted using a variety of learning modalities (group discussion, videos, media slides, role playing dyads, and interactive exercises) and utilizes bullying prevention curricula and materials from the National Education Association (Health Information Network, 2010). Multicolor BAND bracelets are used in a pivotal workshop exercise, providing students with a take-away symbol to remind them of their “Not On My Watch” experience and to encourage ongoing student participation and peer solidarity.
2. What is different about NOMW than other bullying programs?
Primarily, NOMW uses a social-ecological framework to address bullying, which is an approach recommended by top bullying scholars in the United States (Bullying Prevention & Intervention, Swearer, Espelage & Napolitano, 2009). Instead of looking at “bullying” as simply the result of “bad children” who simply need “more punishment and discipline”, an ecological framework looks at the underlying school culture and its relationships to identify what is causing bullying to arise in the first place.
For example, some studies show the majority of bullying behaviors are perpetrated by roughly 20% of students (Nansel, et al., 2001). Our attention quickly goes to these specific “bulliers”, though we quickly forget that 80% of the other students stand by and idly watch (or even encourage) their peers to engage in harmful behaviors. NOMW works to awaken student bystanders into empowered and active youth leaders who can speak up and take constructive actions. Students get to opportunity to learn they are responsible for creating their school culture, and with communication, education and empowerment, they can choose to have a school where everyone is treated with dignity. Social problems can be addressed openly and collectively and serve as teachable moments, instead of dealt with in isolation in the disciplinarians office.
Why students bully can have many motivations, but some studies show the “bully” often has unresolved concerns that are manifesting as acting out behaviors than have gone unaddressed. Instead of viewing bullies as simply “bad troublemakers”, we instead inquire what is underlying these behaviors, and seek to resolve these concerns in partnership with students, their peers and their parents.
Another key difference of the program is its use of data through surveys collected from faculty, students, and parents. Analysis of the surveys guide the conversations and topics covered in student program workshops so they are tailored to the specific student concerns at your school. No school on the planet is like another, and NOMW does not see the usefulness in canned, “one size fits all” program models. Additionally, multiple surveys given at different points throughout the year help track our progress transparently, so we can continue to learn how to improve the program and achieve the goal of making your school a truly safe, welcoming and bully-free community.
3. Teachers are very busy. Will this program mean more work for me?
The purpose of NOMW is to do the majority of the “heavy lifting” in working to empower students in shifting their student culture and the way they relate with one another in the school. There will be a minimal of teacher involvement needed, such as filling out surveys, giving us feedback on your observations of shifts in student attitudes and behaviors, and participating in school rallies, poster contests, and other school-wide activities. Also, curriculum infusion activities are available for those teachers who would like to utilize them (i..e., using books on bullying for reading class, talking about bullying and current events in social studies or health class, etc.)
Also, NOMW is available to support you when you see bullying incidents arise that you need more support with. You can call NOMW and email them here. In fact, when bullying incidents do arise, we want you to contact NVEEE so they can track incidents and be available to support you with your students.
4. How will we know if this initiative is working?
You are an integral part of helping us evaluate this program. In addition to collecting survey data from you at different points throughout the school year, data will also be collected from students, parents, and the bullying workgroup team.
5. If I see repeated bullying happening in the school between students, what is the new process for handling chronic incidents?
- Address the bullying as you normally would.
- If the bullying continues, please email Jowharah at a special address both the school and NVEEE have access to to report the incident.
- A reconciliation meeting will be arranged between the students, a Peace Ambassador, and NVEEE. A conversation takes place about what is the source of the behaviors, what doesn’t work, and looking at solutions that empower all students involved.
- Parents are contacted after the reconciliation meeting and results and actions plans from the meeting are shared. Parents can choose to reinforce the conversation with their children.
- Only in egregious or repeatedly unresolved cases will punishment or suspension be then considered.