I get frustrated when I hear about schools describe a “new anti-bullying curriculum” that they *purchased.*

Recently I heard a presentation about the future of education by Dr. Harry Brighouse, Professor of Philosophy and Education Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He gave a powerful talk I couldn’t begin to do justice, but this post is not about him or his presentation. He was talking about two young people — one who needed to learn that he was no more important than anyone else, and another who needed to learn that he was just as important as anyone else.

If you think that seems like an odd or unimportant lesson, you must not be reading the same news I am lately.You must have missed the tragic cases of bullying happening all over our country.

I am no more important than anyone else. I am just as important as anyone else. Bullying starts with me, and it ends with me. I will not bully, and I will not be bullied. These are foundational concepts schools need to embrace. That’s exactly why I get frustrated when I hear about a school with a new anti-bullying curriculum that they purchased. These foundational concepts don’t require piling on worksheets. Kindness, and preventing bullying, are things every teacher should discuss, embrace, model, insist upon, instill, and value. When you buy a curriculum for that, it makes it “other” and some kind of special occasion deal. Also, bullying “kits” often create an artifice around the concept, and thereby fail completely in “real life.”

It’s not the effort to stop bullying that frustrates me, it’s the wrong-headed idea that the solution has to come from someplace outside.  Bullying is a from-within kind of problem, and that is where the solution is as well.