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Bullying and Violence in Our Schools

Local news media has reported that in a span of five months, three brutal attacks have been carried out against our youth in Broward schools.

It is estimated that almost 30% of our nation’s youth are involved in bullying.  Youth report that they are either a bully, a target of bullying, or both. In a recent national survey of students, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, of children, in grades 6-10, 13% reported bullying others, 11% reported being the target of bullies and another 6% said that they bullied others and were bullied themselves.

Broward schools have a strict anti-bullying policy. Ours was the first district to adopt such a policy in Florida, when it did in 2008. The policy specifically prohibits bullying of or by any student or employee, and defines consequences for such actions.

Until last year, violence figures from the Florida Department of Education show that incidents in Broward Schools were dropping. For school years ending 2007 and 2008 there was a decrease of 83 incidents. Sadly, figures for 2008-2009 have taken a turn for the worse and show a 27% increase.

One solution the Florida Department of Education has called for is an increase in resource officers – typically off-duty police officers that patrol a campus on foot – at each school.  The Department goes further and defines that these officers are “critical to ensuring a safe school environment.”

Additional staff, however, means additional strain on already strapped school board budgets.

There are some successful initiatives at work in Broward schools:
  • The Silence Hurts campaign, where students are encouraged to report threats anonymously;
  • Child Safety Education/Bully Squad Program, by A Child is Missing
  • One Heart Ensemble by Sunshine Social Service
  • Power Up! Bullying Prevention Program by the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida.

Bully Squad teaches kids ages 5-14 tips on how to avoid bullying, how and why it is important to report bullying and what the consequences are. A Child is Missing has partnered with the Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs to teach these important classes at summer camps across the county.

The One Heart Ensemble is a group of gay, lesbian, transgendered and questioning youth who perform dramatic pieces, about the issues they face because of their sexuality,  for groups of their peers. After each performance, held across the county, the performers answer questions from the audience in an effort to develop more understanding.

Power Up! is a bullying prevention program for girls who exhibit problem behaviors associated with bullying either as the bully, the target or bystander. It takes them through experiential learning activities, role playing and "straight-from-your-school" examples to teach them how to recognize bullying and effectively and safely intervene when they see it.

Acts of violence against anyone are alarming. When they occur against our children and in safe havens, like our schools, they are alarming.

If you'd like to read more about these programs click here and then select TRY IT NOW on PhilNet: Philanthropy Network for Broward then choose:

MY CONTENT and select


keyword BULLY to explore the programs at work in our community.

PhilNet is our online service that allows you to search for and identify interesting projects by nonprofit organizations. If you have a donor advised Fund with us, you can also recommend grants to support these programs. If you don't have a donor advised Fund, we'd be happy to discuss how to open one with you. Call Barbara Witte at 954-761-9503.
Broward County Inspiring Philanthropy over 25 years