Impact Society

Impact Society

October 25, 2012 15:15 ET

Education Experts Warn Public: Don't Expect Legislation to Ever Stop Bullying

"Legislation can't end bullying any more than a food guide can end obesity."

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Oct. 25, 2012) - As different groups argue about whether Alberta's new Education Act goes far enough to stop bullying, two experts on education, school culture, and positive youth development say that no form of legislation could ever go far enough to end bullying in schools. They are calling on parents, teachers and administrators to take aim at bullying with a radically different approach: a character- building process that addresses both bully and victim.

"We applaud the Alberta Government for doing what it can to create safer school environments, but we have to be careful about thinking that we can regulate against certain behaviour and call it a day," says Jack Toth, CEO of Calgary-based Impact Society, a national non-profit organization focused on teen development. "Legislation can't end bullying any more than a food guide can end obesity. People change from the inside-out. We cannot legislate character. We build character by relationship, not rules. By helping students discover that they have greatness inside, adults can radically change how young people think and feel about themselves - and how they behave toward one another. That's the foundation of character building, and the real answer for both perpetrators and victims."

Dr. Wayne Hammond, a psychologist and leading Canadian researcher who has studied at-risk youth for over twenty years, agrees. "Young people who are led to live with confidence, character and integrity do not bully. But they will not change their values because someone in authority says they should. They will change their values because they want to be like the significant people in their lives who value them. That is the real challenge facing parents, teachers and administrators: creating a generation of young people who feel valued and connected." Hammond added that the victim is often not a focus of a bullying strategy, and character building helps them bounce back from bullying.

Jack Toth has worked with students in various educational environments for over twenty years teaching programs that build young people's strengths. His book, The Teacher Every Student Wants and Needs illustrates how strength-based teaching produces academic success and changes school environments.

Dr. Wayne Hammond is CEO of Resiliency Initiatives, and is one of Canada's leading researchers on creating resiliency. Dr. Hammond has studied hundreds of thousands of students across Canada. He is inspired to create positive school cultures that focus on building young people's inherent strengths.

Media availability: Jack Toth, CEO and Jodi Dawson, Vice-President of Operations, for Impact Society
Dr. Wayne Hammond, CEO, Resiliency Initiatives

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