Bullying in Schools
James Smith Sociology Nancy Rosen Bullying In Schools Many problems in society need public attention, bullying is one of the top problems. The problem of bullying affects everyone in some aspect whether it is by being the victim, victimizer, and both the victim and the victimizer, friend, or family member of the victim or just a bystander that does nothing to prevent this problem. When you think of bullying you might picture a young child. While bullying is most common in elementary and high schools, it is important for education programs to be aware that associated bullying behaviors begin early even into the preschool years.
When one thinks of a bully, the image of a movie villain may come into their minds; this isn’t always the case. In reality, a victimizer of bullying can be male or female, small or large, young or old. Bullying has no social, financial, or cultural boundaries. Bullying is most common in middle schools, with 6th graders on the receiving end the most and 8th graders handing out the most bullying. In a study of 15,686 students in 6th through 10th grade in private and public schools, it was found that 13-23% of boys and 4-11% of girls experience some sort of bullying. (Nansel 2003).Nearly one in six children in that age range fall victim to bullying each year, which means about 3.
2 million children, were being bullied. Whereas, 3. 7 million children are acting as bullies (Kerlikowske 2003). Six out ten children witness some form of bullying on a daily basis. In schools, bullying most likely takes place on the playground, followed by the classroom, then the hallways (Drake 2003). For the students at Dunn Middle School, a lot of the bullying occurs out of school. If it occurs in school, most students said bullying occurs in the hallways or in the lunchroom.
One student even mentioned a fight that took place during an assembly, which was initiated because one student was bullying another. Although anyone can be a bully, there are many common characteristics found in most bullies. Most bullies are male, popular, and often athletes (Espelage 2001). They have excellent social skills, with the ability to attract many followers, and easily manipulate others (“Bullies… ” 2001).
Bullies are psychologically strong and very popular among their peers. This peer status is important in terms of boosting their well-being. It’s disturbing to think that bullies are feeling really good about themselves.Bullying behavior is self-reinforcing: When kids find that putting others down earns them approval from their peers, they are likely to do it again and again. Many times they can easily butter up to adults, making them unsuspecting bullies (Espelage 2001). In general, a bully is someone who teases and intimidates other students, although there are many other ways to bully a fellow student. Many people feel the typical bully comes from a broken home, but this is not necessarily true.
Yet, the less supervision a child gets at home, the more likely he is to be a bully.About 30 to 40% of bullies show some levels of depression, and their bullying is often a cry for help. (Espelage 2001). I asked my little brother what he thought caused students to bully one another and I was impressed with his response. He felt bullies exist because they probably can’t get their way at home. Many of the other students felt very similarly. One student even thought that maybe bullies were bullied as little kids, which turned them into bullies themselves.
Most bullies look for a victim to be smaller, younger, and weaker. Most likely the victim will be both less confident and popular. “Bullies… ” 2001). Many victims react by becoming upset or crying as a way of dealing with their anger and fear.
Victims have a tendency to be depressed, anxious, shy and lonely (Drake 2003). Luckily, as they grow older, victims are less likely to stay a victim because they learn to cope, while the bullies tend to remain that way (Drake 2003). Tonja Narsel, a psychologist at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, says that from previous research victims tend to have a lower self-esteem and have a higher level of depression (Rubin 2003).When people think of bullying they will most likely think of a boy getting shoved into a locker by older boys or getting pushed as they walk through the hallways. While this is the most common form of bullying, especially with males, many girls experience a different form of bullying. Although it is a more indirect form of bullying, social manipulation is very prevalent within females. Social manipulation can include many actions, including spreading gossip, telling lies, betraying trust, passing notes, ignoring the victim, or excluding the victim (Bullies 2001).
Many of the girls said there was a lot of bullying between girls. They said many girls would get bullied if they get a lot of attention from the boys. It seemed as if the girls would get jealous, and then in turn make that girl the object of their bullying. They said the bullying most often consisted of calling names, pulling hair, and occasionally fighting. There are many repercussions from bullying that are quite shocking: 1) Children who are bullied are more likely to be depressed – 26% of girls who were frequently bullied reported depression as opposed to 8% of girls who were not; the boys were 16% vs. %; 2) Victims are more likely to be suicidal, with 8% for girls and 4% for boys, compared to 1% overall for non-victims of bullying; 3) Bullies are more likely to carry weapons, with 43% carrying a weapon to school at least once a week, compared to 8%. 4) Bullies are more likely to be injured, 46% vs.
16%. (Kerlikowske 2003). The topic of bullying entered the spotlight due to the numerous school shootings. In two-thirds of the 37 school shooting that were examined, the shooters felt persecuted, bullied, threatened, attacked or injured by others prior to the incident (Drake 2003).It is very important for teachers to be involved and to keep their eyes out for bullies to help keep the incidence of bullying at a low. All future teachers need to acknowledge the need for anti-bullying programs, which can significantly reduce the occurrence of bullying. Bullying prevention programs are interventions for the reduction and prevention of bully/victim problems.
The program targets students in elementary, middle, and junior high schools. All students within a school participate in most aspects of the program. Additional individual interventions are targeted at students who are identified as bullies or victims of bullying.The core components of the program are implemented at the school, class and the individual level. To make sure this program is a success the staff and students must work together cooperatively. For a safe classroom environment against bullying, there must be the establishment and enforcement of class rules against bullying. Teachers need to teach and develop good interpersonal skills and values with the children.
The students also need to be taught non-violent values, non-racist values, conflict resolution, and problem solving skills.If a child in a class is identified as a bully there needs to be interventions and discussions with parents. The school must do its part to ensure effective communication between itself and parents. Parents need to be informed of any bullying incidents right away. School counselors or school psychologists can assist teachers in this process. Children can be taught habits to lessen the possibility of becoming the target of a bully. If a child starts looking people in the eye, speaking up and standing up straight they can begin to develop self-confidence.
Kids need help developing strategies to deal with the intimidating behavior of their peers, like walking away or telling the bully to stop, but they also need to know that adults can and will come to their aid. A teacher’s openness about bullying can give them that assurance (Feldman, 2004). Unfortunately, most of the students at Dunn Middle School felt fighting back was the best solution. One student mentioned going to an adult for help, but another student quickly responded, you snitch, you’ll get beat up worse. One student offered the solution of fighting back and got a weapon.I feel that there has to be a strict punishment for the bullies so the victims can be reassured that the bully won’t continue such behavior. Cyber bulling is another form of teen violence that can do lasting harm to young people.
Statistics show that cyber bullying is a serious problem among young teens. This problems comes in many forms, such as sending mean messages through email or through text messaging, posting harmful or threatening messages on social networks i. e. Facebook or twitter or pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person. The behavior of bystanders who see bullying happen is too often overlooked or excused.Bystanders provide bullies with an audience and sometimes even encouragement. When witnesses do nothing to stop abusive behavior, they also give their implicit approval.
It should be made very clear to students that failing to stop or report an act of bullying makes them responsible and they too can get into trouble. Yet, it is very difficult to speak up against the bully. Many of the students don’t want to get involved because they don’t want to be the next victim. Yet again, I feel that strict punishment needs to be enacted for such bullies so the other students can have a sense of security.If anti-bullying programs are implemented the right way, results can be amazing. Many programs that are used in schools nationwide have had these results with their interventions: 1. A substantial reduction in boys and girls reports of bullying and victimization.
2. A significant reduction in student’s actions such as vandalism, fighting, theft and truancy. 3. Significant improvements in the aspect of the class, such as students reports of improved order and discipline, more positive social relationships, and a more positive attitude toward schoolwork and school (Svoboda, 2004).Preventing bullying is just one important aspect of maintaining good discipline in school environments. Children who feel secure want to go to school, enjoy school, and therefore learn more. Teachers who are in classrooms that are safe, orderly, and free of bullies can accomplish many things.
All children can benefit from lessons about treating each other with respect. Bullying is one childhood memory no youngster should have.Works Cited Bullies and their Victims. Harvard Mental Health Letter. 2001, 4-7. Drake, J. Teacher preparation and practices regarding school bullying.
Journal of School Health. 2003, 347-356. Espelage, D. Schoolroom torment. People. 2/05/2001, 91-92. Feldman, S.
Bullying prevention. Teaching PreK-8. 2004, 6. Kerlikowske, G. One in six students fall prey to bullies. Inside School Safety. 2003,6-9.
Nansel, T. Bullies found to be at risk for violent behavior. Inside School Safety. 2003, 1-4. Rubin, R. Study: Bullies and their victims ten to be more violent. USA Today.
4/15/03 Svoboda, E. Everyone loves a bully. Psychology Today. 2004, 1-20.