In 2005, the British government introduced an anti-bullying wristband scheme which backfired horribly. It became the very definition of government failure.
The government’s crackpot idea was for kids to wear blue anti-bullying wristbands to show that bullying is wrong, but the kids who wore the blue bands actually became lures for bullies. The blue bands allowed bullies, who no doubt used their Terminator-style bully vision, to identify which of their fellow pupils were afraid of bullies and target them for extermination, uh we mean bullying!!
Julie Oakley, the founder of Bullywatch (a foundation which supports the victims of bullying) said that:
“Kids who wear the wristbands have become natural targets. There has been a lot of interest in them because they are rare, and have become valuable. They are sought-after in the same way as new trainers. It’s totally sick that something designed to help fight bullying could be used in this way – it completely defeats the object.”
You see, the wristbands were actually quite the fashion item at the time. The efforts of David Beckham and Kelly Brook to raise awareness for the wristbands increased their value and, consequently, they were being sold for a considerable amount of money on eBay. It didn’t take long for enterprising bullies to figure out that they could bully kids wearing the blue bands, steal the bands and sell them on eBay for a tidy profit.
Amazingly, Michelle Elliot, the director of child protection charity Kidscape proclaimed after the campaign that:
“We were afraid that they would make kids wearing them a target. Bullies will find any excuse – but I’m disgusted something with such good intentions should end up being abused like this.”
So the government must have known, or at least suspected, that kids wearing the blue bands would get bullied but they still went ahead with their insane anti-bullying campaign.
Rosie, a 13 year old school school pupil from London, sums up the disastrous campaign perfectly:
“I’m sorry, but in one school near me, it’s made it a whole lot worse. Bullies are stupid, everyone knows that, and so they came up with a stupid idea. They basically thought ‘Hey! Everyone who’s wearing a wristband must be scared of bullying!’ So they decided to bully the people wearing wristbands. So, it’s made a difference, but not a good one.”