Three MILLION kids are absent from school each month because they fear bullies. That is the equivalent of the ENTIRE CITY of Chicago skipping school. Source: OnlineCollege.org
– American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.
– 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
– 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
– 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
– 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
– 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
- 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
Bullying is defined as :
“a person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.”
-Dan Olweus, author The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program
There are three important components in this definition:
- Bullying is aggressive behavior that involves unwanted negative actions
- Bullying involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time
- Bullying is an imbalance of power or strength
Some of the most common types of bullying:
- Verbal: including derogatory comments and bad names
- Social: exclusion or isolation
- Physical: such as hitting, kicking, shoving and spitting
- Lies and rumors
- Money taken or belongings damaged
- Threatening or forcing someone to do things
- Racial slurs
- Sexual comments
- Cyberbullying (via cell phone or internet)
People often classify bullying as repeated behavior, over time, to the same person. I couldn’t disagree more. A person who bullies can exploit one or more people over a long or short span of time. I can still recall with clarity the names of the “queen bees” (The clique leader, or “queen bee” as Rosalind Wiseman has named her Queen Bees and Wannabes, Three Rivers Press, 2003) in the halls of education.
Unfortunately, cruelty cannot be measured by the precise means of statistics. Particularly when examining the ramifications of relational aggression, a form of social warfare often conducted between girls who appear to be friends. You can’t quantify being left out, passive-aggressive remarks, rumors and shaming with statistics. However, that doesn’t mean they aren’t damaging or common — or, as we once called it, just plain MEAN. Why and when did behaving inhumanely become acceptable?
Since the spawn of technology has overtaken the world as we know it, life has taken an alternate route as well. We all exist alongside a series of devices. Young and old, our lives play out over broadband with cell phones, Kindles, iPads, Skype, video games and virtual monikers. We are largely impatient, overcommitted and woefully tired. As a result, people anticipate having every need met within moments and don’t give a second thought to belittling other people or criticizing those that don’t conform to their ideals or standard. I have heard parents say “bullying is part of growing up”. How can bullying be eradicated when the role models are clueless as to the problems that their unenlightened behavior is perpetuating? If children are exposed to this type of attitude it’s unfair to expect them to grasp just how wrong it is to treat people in an unkind manner.
So, where do girls learn how to hone their skills in relational aggression? Let’s examine how we socialize girls in our society:
No loud voices
Anger is not welcome here
Listen the first time
If this is a guideline, in what way can one “acceptably” release the feelings of anger, resentment, jealousy, frustration? When boys tussle people commonly say: “boys will be boys”. However, if a girl lashes out or raises her voice people contemplate “what’s wrong with her”.
Part of the problem is that girls are, generally, much more verbal creatures. We use words earlier and learn the impact of those words at an earlier stage in development than most boys do. Girls are urged to pursue tranquil pastimes: coloring, crafts, baking, playing with dolls, or pretend school/house. Girls are given a silent message that having a negative thought or feeling is bad.
So how’s a girl to “deal” when those inevitable feelings of jealously, resentment, anger or hurt do rear their heads, there’s one easy and accessible outlet, those verbal skills. This is when taunting, excluding, name calling, and nastiness begin. Body language is another critical aspect of relational aggression. Girls roll their eyes, toss their hair, slump, bat their eye lashes, give “dirty looks”, etc, etc. A significant amount of these activities take place in the classroom with a teacher present. In fact, most students in surveys indicate they don’t bother telling an adult about bullying for two reasons:
1. Fear of reprisals from the bully;
2. Knowledge that the adults will not do anything about it.
Many anti-bullying policies and programs used today are reactive. Not enough is done to teach children how to channel their negative feelings in a productive and non-hurtful manner. In order for a strategy to be effective, it needs to focus on prevention in conjunction with intervention. Students need to know the rules about bullying, but more importantly, WHAT bullying is. Bullying is a learned behavior, and it can be unlearned!
According to Karl Marx “The philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways. The point however is to change it”. This sentiment reflects one of the central issues in combating bullying and begs the question: Can bullying be abolished?
It is my belief that most children are kind, generous and loving when placed in a nurturing environment. They want to be good, they like to help and they don’t like to see someone else hurting or crying. They just need someone to serve as their guidepost along the way. Tell them how to handle these situations and what to do when they’re in the midst of them. If teachers, parents, students and other members in the community take the time to show respect, kindness and dignity to one another and live by the golden rule, or Rule of Reciprocity, (treat others as you wish to be treated) then we have a real shot . With the world’s population soaring near seven billion, perhaps if enough of us don’t just pontificate about taking a stand and actually do something, maybe we can accomplish this task over time and bring a real change to the generations yet to come. Regardless of your politics, as Marx said “the point IS to change the world”…………
Bully Facts & Statistics. MBNBD. http://www.makebeatsnotbeatdowns.org/facts_new.html
Bullying Statistics / Cyber Bullying Statistics / School Bullying Statistics. How to Stop Bullying. http://www.how-to-stop-bullying.com/bullyingstatistics.html
Dr. Dan Olweus Bullying Research, History & Prevention Statistics. Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. http://www.olweus.org/public/bullying_research.page
Gordon, Serena. Bullies Target Obese Kids.US News Health. http://health.usnews.com/health-news/family-health/brain-and-behavior/articles/2010/05/03/bullies-target-obese-kids
Kaffenberger, Sarah, Jill DeVoe, and Kathryn Chandler. Student Reports of Bullying Results From the 2001 School Crime
Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey: Statistical Analysis Report. National Center for Education Statistics. 2005.
National Education Association.
National Statistics. Youth Violence Project. http://youthviolence.edschool.virginia.edu/violence-in-schools/national-statistics.html
And one last source Www.standfortgesilent.org