Dignity for All: Bullying Prevention

Dignity for All (DFA) is an innovative digital learning tool to prevent bullying and discrimination in school communities and develop remediation skills among students, teachers and parents to help repair the harm caused by bullying incidents.

  • A three-volume Curriculum Guide for Instructors
  • Administrators Guide
  • Student Guide and Workbook
  • Parent Guidebook
  • Professional Development Sessions
  • Digital Tools

Our bullying prevention program is rooted in neuroscience that transforms whole-school communities through digital storytelling, reflection, and empathic relationships.

Neuroscience and the
Trauma-Informed Approach

Abuse, community violence, racial profiling, the pernicious effects of poverty, and many other forms of trauma affect children’s ability to succeed in school and communicate clearly their feelings and thoughts. Many of them are experiencing chronic stress activation, and a recent major epidemiological study demonstrated that adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as these underlie many mental health problems including major depressive disorder.

DFA is informed in its entirety by findings from leading trauma specialists and researchers, and co-developed by a trauma practitioner and researcher. DFA seeks to address and remediate the toxic stress that youth today are grappling with by incorporating the tenets of Trauma-Informed Care (TIC). The premise of TIC is to take into account past traumas and actively resist re-traumatization.

91

Schools across the country

+67%

Graduation rates

+26%

In attendance

+43%

In math & reading scores

For purchases please call 800-998-3212
or email us at info@urbantech.org

DFA is a curriculum rooted in recent findings in neurobiology. The curriculum focuses on giving students and teachers the tools they need to build skills in reflection, empathy, and teamwork in order to create a safe and supportive learning environment for the entire school community. DFA uses Urban Tech’s ACID Test to remind students of the four characteristics of bullying: aggressive, continuous, imbalance in power, and deliberate. We want kids to feel free to tell their story and help shape a new generation of kinder, empathetic and civic-minded children.

Behind the Scenes provides background texts for each character in a provided DFA video as an empathy-building activity to connect the reader to the circumstances, beliefs, and attitudes of others. The stories and associated role-playing activities inspire students to actively empathize with others and strive to understand opposing perspectives.

Break it Down provides students with the opportunity to evaluate what they have learned from the Quest through both written and discussion-based analyses. This activity helps students understand the role they play in their school community and at home.

Write to the Point allows students to reflect privately through a series of journal prompts, helping students to put their emotions, thoughts, and values into words.

We Got Game prompts students to take part in a collaborative project with the goal to create a school-wide mission statement committed to a positive community for all. Students engage in research on mission statements of historical movements, brainstorming of values and goals, outreach to the rest of the school community through a variety of multimedia projects, and the organization of a school-wide event to discuss and implement the resulting mission statement. See the full list of components here.

DFA’s teacher guides include in-depth descriptions of the research in neuroscience, restorative justice, and empathy upon which the curriculum is based. Urban Tech strives to give teachers the tools they need to coach their students on a personal level, deal effectively with emotions, and help develop positive responses to stressful situations. In this way we can help teachers and students raise self-awareness eradicate unconscious bias, and build skills in empathy and critical reflection.
In 2018, we implemented DFA into its first pilot school in Brooklyn, NY. At the start of the school year, 63% of students indicated that they had been teased, lied about or socially isolated. After completing the first phase of DFA, in only ten weeks’ time, reports of the same behavior had decreased to 29%. Overall victimization rates fell from 23% to 17.9%, a rate lower than the national bullying average for middle school students, and prevalence rates among female students dropped by nearly 50%. Download our latest evaluation below.

Take a look at what DFA has to offer your school

The Dignity for All program is supporting our goal to help develop students who are empathetic, collaborative and reflective contributors in their communities. We are learning what bullying is and how to distinguish it from other mean behavior by using the ACID test: Is it aggressive, is it continual, is there imbalance in power, and a deliberate intention to hurt another person. With this new knowledge and language, we are empowered to change our own attitudes and behavior and those of our students. We are doing our part to create a better world thanks to Urban Tech and its Dignity for All program which we hope can be brought to all schools in New York City.

Keisha Ramrattan

Teacher at MS 354 in Brooklyn, NY

Every day, 160,000 students skip school to avoid being bullied. Bullies and targets are both at increased risk of suicidal ideation. 25% of students are bullied each year and face long-term mental and physical health problems as a result, while students who bully are more likely than their peers to face academic challenges and suspension.

Every year, 70% of students witness bullying in their schools, and recent studies indicate that these bystanders suffer the same negative effects as bullied students. Importantly, studies show that as many as 59% of incidents can be prevented by teaching bystanders to recognize bullying when it occurs and to prevent and intervene in the bullying cycle using restorative practices that include the whole community.

For adolescents, practicing mindfulness and empathy is particularly important. Recent findings show that empathic, caring encounters with others not only light up the pleasure centers in the brain, but also facilitate the development of integrative fibers in the brain. That means that emotional attunement from another can make the entire brain work better.
Research has indicated that in schools where students perceive that adults care about them individually and are invested in their learning, the students are less likely to become either targets or aggressors of bullying. Moreover, when bullying is seen as a whole school issue and supportive connections are fostered among all school personnel, bullying behaviors have been reduced.