By Terry Orr
Understanding that bullies (and imitators) have been around for ages – they need to be dealt with immediately – hopefully in a positive and corrective manner. It has been my misfortune to have been around them since grade school, while in the military and during my consultant careers. All too often, the apple does not fall far from the tree. This cycle truly needs to be broken.
Last February, we shared information regarding reporting bully behaviors to appropriate officials; educating kids about bullies early on; what to do when someone is being bullied; and working to prevent bullying.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is behavior that hurts or harms another person physically or emotionally. Bullying can be very overt, such as fighting, hitting or name calling, or it can be covert, such as gossiping or leaving someone out on purpose. It is intentional, meaning the act is done willfully, knowingly and with deliberation. The targets have difficulty stopping the behavior directed at them and struggle to defend themselves. [Source: phillyBurbs.com]
Facts that everyone should know about bullying:
71 percent of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
90 percent of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying.
Every day, 160,000 students skip school because they are afraid they will be bullied.
The most common reason cited for being harassed is a student's appearance or body size. Two out of five teens feel that they are bullied because of the way that they look.
57 percent of students who experience harassment in school never report the incident to the school. Ten percent of those who do not report stay quiet because they do not believe that teachers or staff can do anything. As a result, more than a quarter of students feel that school is an unsafe place to be.
Nine out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation.
41 percent of principals say they have programs designed to create a safe environment for LGBT students, but only 1/3 of principals say that LGBT students would feel safe at their school.
One in four teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4 percent of the time.
A victim of bullying is twice as likely to take his or her own life compared to someone who is not a victim.
Only one in 10 victims of cyberbullying tell a parent. Fewer than one in five cyberbullying incidents are reported to the police.
25% of bullies have a criminal record by the age of 30
Bullying is the most common form of violence in our society
25% of teachers see nothing wrong with bullying or putdowns and consequently intervene in only 4% of bullying incidents. [This fact is terrible truth.]
Types of Bullying
Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes: Teasing; name-calling; inappropriate sexual comments; taunting; and threatening to cause harm.
Social bullying, sometimes referred to as relational bullying, involves hurting someone’s reputation or relationships. Social bullying includes: Leaving someone out on purpose; telling other children not to be friends with someone; spreading rumors about someone; and embarrassing someone in public.
Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Physical bullying includes: Hitting/kicking/pinching; spitting; tripping/pushing; taking or breaking someone’s things; and making mean or rude hand gestures.
Cyber bullying this type of bullying can be chat rooms, online, instant messaging, on a mobile phone; social networks; and e-mails
What needs to be done?
Early intervention: Researchers advocate intervening in elementary or middle school, or as early as preschool. Group and building-wide social skills training is highly recommended, as well as counseling and systematic aggression interventions for students exhibiting bullying and victim behaviors.
Parent training: Parents must learn to reinforce their children’s positive behavior patterns and model appropriate interpersonal interactions.
Teacher training: Training can help teachers identify and respond to potentially damaging victimization as well as to implement positive feedback and modeling to address appropriate social interactions.
Attitude change: Researchers maintain that society must cease defending bullying behavior as part of growing up or with the attitude of “kids will be kids.” Bullying can be stopped!
Positive school environment: Schools with easily understood rules of conduct, smaller class sizes and fair discipline practices report less violence.
We as parents, guardians, members of the community – together need to work together to reduce bullying and that it is not acceptable behavior – regardless of ones age.
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