School bullying

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This article primarily concerns student-related bullying at school. For teacher-related bullying at school, see Bullying in teaching.
Bullying, of which one form is depicted in this staged photograph, is detrimental to students’ well-being and development.[1]

School bullying is an unwelcomed behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include


School Bullying is a type of bullying that takes place in an educational setting. Bullying can be physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional in nature. Recent statistics suggests that the majority of students will experience bullying at some point in their academic careers. The long term effects of bullying are numerous, and can include sensitivity, anxiety, and depression. It is important for teachers and parents to understand and recognize the signs of bullying (of both bullies and victims), and to be equipped with strategies and tools to address bullying in schools.

Statistics[edit]

Bullying is a common occurrence in most schools. According to the American Psychological Association, approximately "40% to 80% of school-age children experience bullying at some point during their school careers".[2] Regardless of the grade level, socioeconomic environment, gender, religion, or sexual orientation, bullying can happen to anyone. However, various studies point out that students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are more bullied than students from higher socio-economic backgrounds.[3] Most children experience bullying at some point in their academic careers. The following is a list of statistics that illustrate the severity of bullying within classrooms:[2]


This was a survey conducted by the NICHD where a results on what student did in a school. "The children were asked to complete a questionnaire during a class period that asked how often they either bullied other students, or were the target of bullying behavior. A total of 10.6 percent of the children replied that they had 'sometimes' bullied other children, a response category defined as 'moderate' bullying. An additional 8.8 percent said they had bullied others once a week or more, defined as 'frequent' bullying. Similarly, 8.5 percent said they had been targets of moderate bullying, and 8.4 percent said they were bullied frequently. Out of all the students, 13 percent said they had engaged in moderate or frequent bullying of others, while 10.6 percent said they had been bullied either moderately or frequently. Some students-6.3 percent-had both bullied others and been bullied themselves. In all, 29 percent of the students who responded to the survey had been involved in some aspect of bullying, either as a bully, as the target of bullying, or both." [7] According to Tara Kuther, associate professor of psychology at Western Connecticut State University, "...bullying gets so much more sophisticated and subtle in high school. It's more relational. It becomes more difficult for teens to know when to intervene, whereas with younger kids bullying is more physical and therefore more clear cut".[5]

Because of the low numbers of students who actually report incidents of bullying, teachers need to have a certain level of awareness that will thwart any potential problems. This awareness starts with understanding bullying.

Types of school bullying include[edit]

Physical[edit]

A female bully, portrayed in the 1917 silent film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.

Physical bullying is any unwanted physical contact between the bully and the victim. This is one of the most easily identifiable forms of bullying. Examples include:[8][9]

Emotional[edit]

Emotional bullying is any form of bullying that causes damage to a victim’s psyche and/or emotional well-being. Examples include:[8][9]

Verbal[edit]

Verbal bullying is any slanderous statements or accusations that cause the victim undue emotional distress. Examples include:[9]

Cyber-bullying[edit]

According to the website Stop Cyberbullying, "Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones."[11] This form of bullying can easily go undetected because of lack of parental/authoritative supervision. Because bullies can pose as someone else, it is the most anonymous form of bullying. Cyber bullying includes, but is not limited to, abuse using email, blog, instant messaging, text messaging, or websites. A lot of kids who are bullied in school are likely to be bullied over the internet, and vice versa.[9]

Prevention

The tragedy of cyber bullying has become extremely prevalent in today's society. Since 95% of social media using teens reported to have witnessed malicious behavior on social media from 2009 to 2013,[12] the odds for rashness from the victim are very high. This calls for preventative measures. There is obviously not a 24 monitoring system on sites like Facebook, or Twitter so in this new age children must be taught at a young age the proper Internet behavior. This is a call for parents and educators to teach these modern skills. Three basic abilities to achieve in this are education through awareness, and advocacy.[13] Parents and educators need to make children aware at a young age of the life changing effects cyber bullying can have on the victim. The next step for prevention is advocacy. For example, three high school students from Melville, New York organized a “Bullying Awareness Walk” where several hundred people turned out to show their support.[14] Other than organizing events, calling for social media sites to take charge could make the difference between life and death.

Cyber-bullying is making it increasingly difficult to enforce any form of prevention[15] The rapid growth of social media is aiding the spread of cyber-bullying and prevention policies are struggling to keep up. In order for prevention policies to be put in place the definition of cyber-bullying must be stated, others must be educated on how to recognize and prevent bullying, and policies that have already attempted to be enacted need to be reviewed and learned from.[16] Most importantly, clear and concise legislation must be created on the state and federal level to aid in world wide prevention.[17]

Sexual[edit]

Sexual bullying is "any bullying behavior, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person’s sexuality or gender. It is when sexuality or gender is used as a weapon by boys or girls towards other boys or girls — although it is more commonly directed at girls. It can be carried out to a person’s face, behind their back or through the use of technology."[18]

As part of its research into sexual bullying in schools, the BBC Panorama program commissioned a questionnaire aimed at young people aged 11–19 years in schools and youth clubs across five regions of England.[19] The survey revealed that of the 273 young people who responded to the questionnaire, 28 had been forced to do something sexual and 31 had seen it happen to someone else. Of the 273 respondents, 40 had experienced unwanted touching.[20] UK Government figures show that in school year 2007/8, there were 3,450 fixed period exclusions and 120 expulsions from schools in England due to sexual misconduct.[21] This includes incidents such as groping and using sexually insulting language. From April 2008 to March 2009, ChildLine counselled a total of 156,729 children. Of these, 26,134 children spoke about bullying as a main concern and 300 of these talked specifically about sexual bullying.[18]

Some people, including the UK charity Beatbullying, have claimed that children are being bullied into providing ‘sexual favours’ in exchange for protection as gang culture enters inner city schools.[22] Other anti-bullying groups and teachers' unions, including the National Union of Teachers, challenged the charity to provide evidence of this, as they had no evidence that this sort of behaviour was happening in schools.[22]

Associated with[edit]

Bullying is usually associated with an imbalance of power. A bully has a perceived authority over another due to factors such as size, gender, or age.[23] Bullies are not identifiable by their appearance or group identification; rather we need to focus on how they act. The definition of bullying briefly describes actions that are exhibited by an individual that is playing the role of a bully.[24] Boys find motivation for bullying from factors such as not fitting in, physical weakness, short-tempered, who their friends were, and the clothes they wore. Girls on the other hand, result from factors like not fitting in, facial appearance, emotional, overweight, and academic status.[25] In both sexes, a speech impediment of some sort (such as stutter) can also become the target of a bully.

Individuals that choose to be a bully are not typically born with the characteristic. It is a result from the treatment they receive from authority figures, including parents. Bullies often come from families that use physical forms of discipline.[26] This somewhat turns the tables on the bully, making them the victim. Unfortunately, this leads to a strategy of bully or be bullied.[24]

Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Girls and boys are both bullies. Girls are more likely social bullies, spreading rumors, breaking up friendships, etc. Boys are more physical bullies, hitting, punching, and slapping.[27] Bullies are typically overly concerned about their appearance and the popularity standings. They have an urge to be dominate, or in charge of others. Bullies are usually easily pressured by their peers and feel the need to impress them.[28] There are several different types of bullies; confident, social, fully armored, hyperactive, bullied bully, bunch of bullies, and a gang of bullies. The confident bully has a very high opinion of themself and feels a sense of superiority over other students. The social bully uses rumors, gossip, and verbal taunts to insult others. Social bullies are typically a female who has low self-esteem and therefore tries to bring others down. The fully armored bully shows very little emotion and often bullies when no one will see or stop them. The hyperactive bully typically has problems with academics and social skills. This student will often bully someone then place the blame on someone else. A bullied bully is usually someone who has been bullied in the past or is bullied by an older sibling. A bunch of bullies is a group of friends who gang up on others. A gang of bullies is a group of students who are not really friends but are drawn together due to their desire for power.[29] Print Students become bullies for many reasons such as they want to impress their peers, they were once bullied themselves and now feel big bullying others, and some even do it as retaliation for being punished in school.[27]

Forms[edit]

Bullying is delivered in a number of different forms and is not limited to one gender. Forms include verbal, physical, direct, sexual harassment, and relational bullying. Bullying covers a wide range of age groups but is particularly prominent between the ages of 9–18. Boys tend to do more bullying than girls, especially in the form of physical bullying. However girls are just as guilty. They usually tend to bully in verbal forms.[25]

Understanding the semiotics of school-age bullying may increase the chances of stopping the problem before drastic measures are taken by the victims, such as suicide. Bully, target, and bystander are labels that have been created to help describe and understand the roles of the individuals involved in the vicious cycle. Barbara Coloroso, an expert in the field of bullying prevention, explains that the labels serve as descriptors of a child’s behavior rather than permanently labeling the child.[25]

Where and When Bullying Happens[edit]

Bullying occurs in and away from schools; however, the majority of bullying takes place in educational institutions. Bullying locations vary by context. For example, the playground is the most dangerous area on the elementary level, followed by the outdoor recess area, hallways, indoor recess, and classrooms. In middle school, hallways were the most perilous location, followed by the lunchroom, outdoor recess areas, classrooms, indoor recess, and the front of the school.

The bathroom, locker room, bus, from and back of the school, gym, parking lot, coat room, and cubby areas are other hazardous bullying zones.

The common denominator in almost all of these locations is inadequate or no supervision and unstructured time. Under these conditions, opportunistic children have free reign. For example, recess, playgrounds and hallways head the list of trouble spots because there are few adults supervising large numbers of children who are constantly moving around wide expanses with few or no organized activities.[30]

Warning Signs of Bullying[edit]

There are warning signs for everyone involved in bullying. Whether your child is being bullied, doing the bullying, or witnessing it, there are signs to look for. Parents should always keep the lines of communication open by starting conversations about daily life and feelings with questions like: What was one good thing that happened today? What is your lunch time like at your school? Who do you sit with? Keep the questions open-ended so your child can describe his or her day. Listen for clues as they talk and follow up with further questions if you suspect something is happening to your child. First, you need to help your child understand what bullying is. Kids who know what bullying is can better identify it. Kids need to know what steps to take if they have been bullied or have seen someone else get bullied. You should encourage your child to always report bullying. Let them know that bullying is not acceptable for any reason, and they should report it immediately.[31]

Signs that a child is being bullied

Signs that your child is bullying others

Signs your child has witnessed bullying

Roles Kids Play[edit]

There are several roles in bullying that take place. “McNamee and Mercurio” have identified the people involved in bullying as: the person doing the bullying, the person getting bullied and the bystander as the “bullying triangle”.[32]

Even if you are not directly involved in the bulling you play a role. There is several roles kids play when witnessing bullying they include:

Short-term and long-term effects[edit]

Dombeck defines some common short-term and long-term effects of bullying. These include, but are not limited to:[33]

Short-term:

Long-term:

Complex dynamics of a school bullying culture[edit]

Parsons identifies school bullying cultures as typically having a web of dynamics which are much more complex than just considering bullying amongst students. These dynamics include:[34]

Responses[edit]

Identifying[edit]

Verifying the signs that signify bullying characteristics are slightly harder than expected. They are usually viewed as loud and assertive and may even be hostile in particular situations. Bullies are not usually the largest kid in a class, but may be part of the popular or cool kids group.[36] The bullies that are part of a popular group may not come from intense disciplinary homes, rather they gain acceptance from the peer group by bullying a victim.[26]

Victims of bullying typically are physically smaller, more sensitive, unhappy, cautious, anxious, quiet, and withdrawn. They are often described as passive or submissive. Possessing these qualities make these individuals vulnerable to being victimized. Unfortunately bullies know that these students will not retaliate, making them an easy target.[26]

A general semantics term called indexing is useful in dealing with the different types of bullying. Indexing is a way to categorize of signs. This allows educators and parents a way to assist in recognizing how bullying behavior varies. By understanding and recognizing the different varieties of behavior it helps to allow flexibility in the responses to the variations.[24]

An interesting result from previous research states that the majority of children possess anti-bullying attitudes. However there is a small amount of children that admire those that bully and show little empathy for those that get bullied.[37]

Common Myths/Misconceptions About Bullying[edit]

Researchers Olweus, 2003 [38] and Scarpaci, 2006 [39]

Strategies for Teachers[edit]

Children spend a lot of their time in school. Although bullying can happen anywhere, the vast majority of bullying occurs in school, which means that a teacher’s influence is profound. It is important for teachers to be able to identify the signs of bullying, and also be equipped with the strategies to help both bullies and victims. Below is a list of possible warning signs, as well as ways that teachers can help students in their classrooms.

Helping students who are bullied

Helping students who bully:

Legislation[edit]

Some states of the United States have implemented laws to address school bullying.
  Law that prohibits discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  Law that prohibits discrimination against students based on sexual orientation only
  Law that prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address discrimination and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address discrimination and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation only
  Law that forbids school-based instruction of LGBT issues in a positive manner
  Law that forbids local school districts from having anti-bullying policies that enumerate protected classes of students
  Law that prohibits bullying in school but lists no categories of protection
  No statewide law that specifically prohibits bullying in schools

Anti-Bullying Laws in the United Kingdom Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 provides for an anti-bullying policy for all state schools to be made available to parents.

Anti-Bullying Laws across the United States Forty-six (46) states across the United States have laws that are there to prevent or that are "Anti-Bullying laws." However; out of those forty-six (46) states only three (3) of those states actually defines what bullying is and what they are trying to prevent.[40]

American victims and their families have legal recourse, such as suing a school or teacher for failure to adequately supervise, for racial or gender discrimination, or for other civil rights violations. Special education students who are victimized may sue a school or school board under the ADA or Section 504. In addition, the victims of some school shootings have sued both the shooters' families and the schools.[41]

Strategies to reduce school bullying[edit]

Researchers (Olweus, 1993);[42] Craig & Peplar, 1999;[43] Ross, 1998;[44] Morrison, 2002;[45] Whitted & Dupper, 2005;[46] Aynsley-Green, 2006;[47] Fried-Sosland[48] provide several strategies which address ways to help reduce bullying, these include:

School shootings[edit]

"Bullying is common in schools and seemed to play a role in the lives of many of the school shooters"[52] School bullying is associated with school shootings. 87% of the attackers were motivated by being bullied. School shooters that died or committed suicide left behind evidence that they were bullied, including Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, Nathan Ferris, Edmar Aparecido Freitas, Brian Head, Seung-Hui Cho, Wellington Menezes Oliveira, and Jeff Weise.[53]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Agirdag, O.; Demanet, J.; Van Houtte, M.; Van Avermaet, P.; Bettelheim, K. A. (2011). "Ethnic school composition and peer victimization: A focus on the interethnic school climate☆". International Journal of Intercultural Relations 35 (4): 1–16. doi:10.1016/j.ijintrel.2010.09.009. PMID 465-473.  edit
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  51. ^ Dake, J. A.; Price, J. H, Telljohann, S. K. (2003). "The nature and extent of bullying at school". The Journal of School Health 73 (5): 0173180. doi:10.1111/j.1746-1561.2003.tb03599.x. PMID 12793102. 
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  53. ^ Bullying in Schools

Fictional bullies[edit]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]