Anti-bullying programs in our nation’s schools have grown exponentially in the past decade. Since the tragedy of Columbine sparked a national debate over bullying, schools have ramped up new anti-bullying rules and “zero-tolerance” policies. Some of these policies have led to serious unintended consequences, according to mental health clinician and school administrator, Dr. Susan Eva Porter.

“Unfortunately we’ve redefined all childhood aggression as bullying,” says Dr. Susan Porter. “Labeling kids as bullies or victims creates a divide in situations where one person’s story is right and the other’s is wrong, or even irrelevant.  State mandates have forced schools to develop zero tolerance for what are often normal childhood conflicts; conflicts that we need to teach children how to work through rather than shielding them.”

In her new book, Bully Nation, Dr. Porter points out that contrary to popular opinion, the Columbine shootings had nothing to do with bullying. “Psychopathology and easy access to guns and ammunition was the cause not bullying,” says Dr. Porter.

Bully Nation explains how in our efforts to protect kids from emotional pain, we have expanded our definition of bullying to include almost any behavior that has the potential to make a kid feel bad: being unfriendly, social exclusion, and name-calling are just a few of the behaviors that have recently found their way into the bully ring.

In BULLY NATION, Dr. Porter shares real-life stories from her work in schools that shows how anti-bullying policies intensify hostilities, hurt children’s emotional development, and often turn parents against one another. She offers a new approach to help kids develop the coping skills and resilience they need by dropping the labels, and using intervention, teaching, and discipline to help children change behaviors and develop coping skills.

“Porter convincingly turns the anti-bullying boom on its head by suggesting that the popular methods and language used in preventing childhood aggression are making things worse, despite good intentions.” —Publishers Weekly

“The Most Important Book Ever Published on School Bullying”—Izzy Kalman, Psychology Today

“In fresh, frank terms, Sue Porter shows why our overheated approach to bullying is bad for everyone, and offers realistic, practical ways for schools and parents to cope.”

—Robert Evans, author of Family Matters: How School Can Cope with The Crisis in Childrearing