It's harder to be mean when there is a dog around, and it is also easier to see how maltreatment can affect both dogs and people. That is the underlying principle of a new anti-bullying program that uses dogs to discourage bullying in schools, USA Today reports.
The program, No More Bullies, teaches children in Kansas City schools responsibility, compassion, self-control and integrity through a curriculum designed by former teacher Jo Dean Hearn, who is now humane education director at Wayside Waifs, an animal rescue
"The animals are the glue that helps the children stay focused and understand the message," Hearn told the news source. "Children can easily identify with an animal. And it's easy for them to transition when we ask them to consider how an animal feels [if ill treated] to how the kid sitting near them feels [if poorly treated]."
The program launched five years ago, but teachers and guidance counselors are now convinced of its effect on students. It is already booked into the 80-classroom maximum and there is a waiting list. According to StopBullying.gov, adult intervention is one of the best defenses against bullying in schools, which means that parents and teachers need to take action against it.