Mission: BRAVE aims to create a community that educates against bullying and advocates for building healthy, lifelong relationships based on respect for others.
Conception: BRAVE was founded by a 16 year old in response to the excessive bullying found within her school district and the lack of accountability that students had for their behaviors.
Foundational Arc: The premise of BRAVE is simplistic in that it neither punishes nor rewards behavior. Rather, it places responsibility for interpersonal communications on each individual through activities that illustrate cause and effect while integrating this knowledge into the daily lives of students. The knowledge base consists of the following:
- A firm understanding of what bullying is: Hurting someone on the inside or the outside
- The outcome or effects of bullying on the victim
- A general understanding of who bullies and why
- The consequences that may be faced by the bully
- Tactics for counteracting bullying
- An over-arching understanding of acceptance, respect and support for peers (becoming a unit)
Initial Goal: To create an anti-bullying program that encouraged consistency and communication between school and home in regards to student behaviors while decreasing the frequency of bullying within the classroom and community as a whole.
Long Range Goal: BRAVE got its start with two high school students, a supportive teacher and 23 students. Since its inception, BRAVE has expanded beyond the 4th grade pilot program to include grades 3-5. As many behavior patterns are set by the time students hit middle school, it was imperative to target youth while they were still amenable to change. Expanding the program was the second-year goal for BRAVE along with creating an easy to use, student driven program that could be adopted by other schools looking to decrease the frequency of bullying while changing the culture of their schools. This is in the works.
Success: While the pilot program was not scientifically studied, data was kept to gauge the frequency and severity of bullying. School staff (even those outside the pilot classroom) noted decreased bullying, increased peer-to-peer intervention and support, and an over-all sense of greater respect among staff and students. Additionally, parents reported their children were more open and caring at home. Yet one of the most startling outcomes of that first year was the increased personal awareness among students regarding their own behavior. They had learned to recognize the impact that their words and actions had on others and were much more apt to self-censor. This lesson was the inspiration for Tales from the Bully Box, and is the basis for ongoing work within the program.
For information on starting your own BRAVE program at school, please use the form below.