Blog Post #5, School Bullying

Bullying in schools has become a complicated international phenomenon. Whether schools are elementary or secondary, small or large, same-sex or mixed-sex, bullying behavior has spread and presents a threat to the well-being of students and the health of schools in countries around the world (Kennedy et al., 2012).

What is bullying?

Researchers of student bullying have recognized this behavior as a violation of other students’ rights (Olweus, 2011). Bullying is defined as the “tendency for some children to frequently oppress, harass or intimidate other children, verbally, physically or both in and out of school” (Alika, 2012, p. 523). Bullying is also described as the repeated exposure of one student to negative actions on the part of one or more other students (Olweus, 2003). These negative actions are intentionally inflicted and can consist of physical abuse that causes physical discomfort or injury and/or verbal abuse that causes feelings of inferiority or mental anguish. One student or group of students can initiate the bullying of another student or group of students, either physically or verbally or both, in order to cause unwarranted distress (Olweus, 2003). According to Olweus (2003), boys tend to use direct bullying more than girls while girls tend to practice indirect bullying more than boys. In general, bullying has been increasingly considered to be a subset of direct or indirect violence (Strohmeier & Noam, 2012).

Consequence of bullying:

Bullying has negative impact on the bullied or victimized. Studies show that bullied students have low academic achievement, self-esteem, self-confidence, numerous health problems, and high anxiety. Unfortunately, bullying also has led to a rise in suicides among elementary and secondary school students and some students more likely to drop out of school than their peers who are not subjected to any form of bullying (Alika, 2012). When a student is persistently exposed to bullying, he or she was more likely to suffer from a severe and long-term impact that sometimes lasted for years after school (Olweus, 2003). In fact, bullying has been used as predictor of later criminality (Olweus, 2011).

Reasons behind bullying:

To understand the bullying behavior, we have to understand why the students do bully others? Prejudice is one of the top reasons behind the bullying. Students bully other students for being different in some way for their color, race, religion, culture, abilities and disabilities, height, weight, or sexual orientation. This type of bullying is reflected to prejudices that students learn from their family and social community about the value of diversity in the community especially because these students (kids or young people) find it hard to understand the diversity of others and can only see it as a difference which can lead to prejudice bullying.

According to National Center for Educational Statistics (2016), more than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied. The following table shows the number and percentage distribution of students ages 12 through 18 who reported being bullied at school: school year 2024-2015.

33% of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year (NCES, 2016). The following figure shows the percentage reporting various frequency of bullying among students ages 12-18 during the school year 2015.

The role of educators for preventing bullying:

So, how educators interact with this major concern and what their roles in protecting students from bullying in schools!! There are lots of people can help stop bullying such as teachers, school counselor, school principal, school superintendent and state department of education. https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now. I agree all these people can make efforts to combat and prevent bullying in schools I think more emphasis should be put on the role of teachers because they are in the frontline of observing student behavior. It seems reasonable to assume that when teachers notice bullying, they are more likely to intervene and stop this behavior. Teachers daily contact with students and are at the forefront of ensuring a safe learning environment, including protecting students from bullying and reporting bullying problems to administrators. Thus, teachers should to be trained about what bullying is, what the school’s rules are, and how to deal with bullying. For example, teachers can support a victim and a bully. For the victim, show her or him that the care and they have a friend. In the same time teachers can advise the bully that he or she is wrong without getting involved in an argument. Actually, the interaction will be based on the bullying situation.

Whitted and Dupper (2005) provided a guideline for teachers to prevent bullying:

  • Regular classroom meetings are held to discuss bullying.
  • Students are involved in developing rules against bullying.
  • The concept of bullying is integrated into curriculum.
  • All school personnel model positive interpersonal skills and cooperative learning and do not set a bad example by exhibiting dominating or authoritarian behavior with students.
  • Teachers encourage the reporting of bullying incidents and consistently follow school bullying policies.
  • Teachers respond swiftly and consistently and are sympathetic to students who need support.
  • Teachers encourage students to include all students in play and activities.
  • Teachers send clear messages that bullying is not tolerated.
  • Consistent enforcement of nonpunitive, graduated consequences for bullying behaviors are used.
  • Corporal punishment is avoided.
  • Parents are encouraged to contact the school if they suspect their child is involved in bullying.

Thank you!!

References:

Alika, H. I. (2012). Bullying as a correlate of dropout from school among adolescents in Delta State: Implication for counselling. Education, 132(3), 523– 532.

Kennedy, T. D., Russom, A. G., Kevorkian, M. M. (2012). Teacher and administrator perceptions of bullying in schools. International Journal of Education Policy and Leadership, 7(5), 1–12.

National Center for Education Statistics. (2016). Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2016.U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2017/2017064.pdf

Olweus, D. (2003). A profile of bullying at school. Educational Leadership, 60(6), 12–17.

Olweus, D. (2011). Bullying at school and later criminality: Findings from three Swedish

community samples of males. Criminal Behaviour & Mental Health, 21(2), 151–156.

Strohmeier, D. & Noam, G. G. (2012). Bullying in schools: What is the problem, and how can educators solve it? New Directions for Youth Development, 2012 (133), 7–13.

Whitted, K. S., & Dupper, D. R. (2005). Best practices for preventing or reducing bullying in schools. Children & Schools, 27(3), 167–175.

5 Replies to “Blog Post #5, School Bullying”

  1. Good blog! I can remember as a kid seeing other kids be bullied as well as myself having been bullied a few times. Back then there wasn’t a lot done to discourage it by ANY adult! You just dealt with it best you could. *sigh* I was glad to see when my kids started school the anti–bully campaign started but then quickly realized like many things it’s not 100% helpful unless the adults in charge actually act on it. All 3 of my kids have been bullied at some point in time and some teachers have been better than others at dealing with it. This year my middle child was experiencing extreme bullying in her volleyball team. It was so bad that the ones doing the bullying weren’t even being sneaky about it and would do it in front of the coach and parents during games with no repercussions what-so-ever. It made me very angry that the coach would just watch it happen and not say ANYTHING. I talked to both him and the parent of the one girl in particular who seemed to be the ring leader in the bullying but nothing ever happened. Sadly my daughter’s self esteem went quickly downhill and we ended up having to seek counseling for her. Thankfully she is doing much better, partially because this social distancing has separated her from participating in volleyball near this other girl but as a result she no longer wants to play sports anymore because of the bad experience she had this year 🙁 She’s been playing since she was 9 and truly loves the sport so it makes me sad that one person can have that kind of effect on someone else and change their path in life. I’ve always taught my kids to be nice to EVERYONE! It’s one reason we did foster care when they were younger to help them see by example. I will have to say I’m proud that the older two are now involved in things like Best Buddies and have compassion for others who are different from them. I just wish more parents emphasized this with their children though.

  2. It’s weird because growing up I was bullied in school and when I told an adult about it their response typically was, “it builds character”. And somehow I just got over it and stopped listening to what others kept saying about me and sometimes even fired back insults. I can’t really remember when bullying became so huge because we see it every day, i.e. politics and no one points it out there either. So when we did start pointing out I realized that once upon a time, when I started firing back insults at people that I turned into a bully as well. I was no better than the people that used to bully me and I never really thought about that as a child.

    I agree bullying is not like it used to be. When I was in middle school, we didn’t really have social media so you wrote mean stuff on the bathroom stalls or passed notes back and forth. Therefore, the audience wasn’t as big. Nowadays, kids post it on social media and end up going viral unnecessarily, and “twitter finger bullies” can hide behind a screen and not even know who that person really is. I honestly couldn’t tell you if I’d make it in the world today with the reach some kids have.
    I am in full support for fixing the problem. Students sometimes don’t have a safe place at home and then come to school and still don’t feel safe which isn’t fair. Teachers, faculty, and staff need to start having an uncomfortable conversation with students as to why bullying is not ok. We should be celebrating each other’s differences not tearing people down because they are different. We are going to also have a conversation at home too. Instead of criticizing the bully and victimizing the person, even more, we need to have a more free and open discussion. We need to be able to give children a safe space so they feel loved needed and don’t feel the need to commit suicide at such an early age.
    I hope the world can fix it in our governments, policies, etc. so that way children can see it’s not ok at any level at life because children are watching these adults do it and that’s why they think it’s ok. We have to set an example for the next generation if we want to enact change

  3. Thank you for your blog post. This is a topic that I have been reading a lot about lately, although my focus has been on academic bullying of graduate students. This is serious problem that must be addressed considering the negative impacts it has on the victims. There are a lot of resources available to educate graduate students at Virginia Tech about academic bullying which you can find on the graduate school’s website (https://graduateschool.vt.edu/student-life/we-hear-your-voice/disrupting_academic_bullying.html). In one of the materials available on the graduate school website, I found some information about bullying behavior which are listed below:
    1) Continual threats of dismissal or intimidation.
    2) Attempts to destroy or harm the person’s self-esteem or confidence.
    3) Constant negative remarks or repeated criticism or sarcasm.
    4) Consistent over-time, unrealistic work demands, or work overloading.
    5) Isolating or systematically isolating the person.
    6) Spreading false information or rumors.
    7) Tasks that are ambiguous, contradictory, or that are deprived of purpose.
    8) False insinuations, attacks to the individual’s dignity, integrity, or self-image.
    9) Attempts to humiliate or public humiliation.
    It is good that we are able to identify these bullying behaviors so that we can immediately address them. When we address bullying, we promote civility, increase productivity, influence higher self-confidence and self-esteem, decrease health challenges that victims suffer from and can decrease the rate of suicide related to academic bullying.
    If a graduate student is experiencing bullying, he/she should not be afraid to speak up, seek allies, reach out to a someone with a higher level of authority or to contact the graduate school Ombudsperson (if you are a Virginia Tech’s student).

  4. #5-3 Bullying….It happens mostly when a group of people come together. When we are grown we are either already used to being bullied and became so silent about it or we always fight against it and we are called aggressive. I was never a skinny girl in my childhood and I am still not skinny and I was bullied numberless times for that when I was a kid. I was strong enough to take it and ignore but I know many children can not do it. This affects the success of children in school. We actually have a very unfortunate example in my family. One of my cousins struggled a lot with being bullied and she attempted to commit suicide because she was not accepted by her peers because she was obese. I really know how the struggle affects the person and their families. I believe we need to teach our kids from their early ages being humble, making peace with everybody and raise with a perspective with no judgment.

  5. Thanks for this blog. I always feel like the bullying problem is not treated as serious as it should be, a lot of parents and teachers are just treating it like it is not a big issue. However, as you listed in this blog, it can actually cause a lot of serious problems to the kids and hurt them deeply. I was never bullied in school when I was a kid, but I saw some of those things happen and it really made me feel bad. Due to lack of self-awareness and self-reflection, the kids who bully others sometimes just don’t know where the line is and can finally result in something that is pure evil. The worst thing is, they are just doing the pure evil for fun and not realizing it. If not stopped at the right time, it can bring irreparable hurt for both sides. That is why education is really important and I totally agree with what you have listed in the post, the message needs to be delivered to all the students that bullying is not right and it is not allowed under all circumstances.
    I don’t know much about the situation in the United States, but in East Asia, for a lot of times bullying is treated only as kids playing with each other and not considered as an important issue. A lot of teachers even think it is a normal thing and believe the bullying can help the students to experience the cruelty of the real society, which I believe is totally irresponsible and unacceptable. I know there is a long way before bullying can really become extinct in school, however, we need to at least treat it seriously, do all the things that we can and show our attitude to improve the situation.

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