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September 23, 2016

Bullying in Schools

Written By: Brandi Jordan
X Bullying in Schools

Bullying in Schools

Bullying. It is a problem that seems to be pervasive in schools from the elementary grades through high school. Although not new, bullying today goes beyond the school hallways and neighborhood soda shops and infiltrates itself into social networking sites on the Internet. This combination of traditional and cyber-bullying causes damage with long-lasting and sometimes fatal consequences. As teachers, how do we protect our students from bullying, whether it be taking place in our schools or on the Internet? Is it even a teacher’s responsibility to step in to stop it?

Understanding Bullying in Schools

The involvement of teachers and administrators in trying to stop blatant bullying is under scrutiny.  What should be done to protect students from malicious taunts and harassment by others?  At what point are teachers and administrators held accountable for bullying in schools?  Although these questions may be difficult to answer, the fact is that teachers do need to talk with students about bullying.  Understanding basic facts about bullies and their victims can make the conversation easier.

Anatomy of a Bully

For bullies, it is all about intimidation and power. They can target people they know or pick someone out at random. They thrive on creating fear and derive pleasure from making others self-conscious and uncomfortable. Not all bullying will escalate to physical injury, but all bullying has the potential to. That is a key point to remember; all bullying has the potential to escalate to physical violence. Cyber-bullying goes beyond normal bullying. It is an attempt to destroy another person’s reputation. Malicious and destructive, cyber-bullying reaches an audience infinitely larger than normal bullying and can quickly spread vicious lies in under 140 typed characters. It results in whispers in the hallways, side-long looks, and a psychological assault on the victim’s ability to function in school and beyond the classroom walls.

Understanding Bullying Victims

Sometimes they just cannot say anything. A comment that everything is fine, should be a blatant red flag to a teacher or parent who has witnessed bullying either online or in person. The inability to advocate for themselves, does not mean that there is no problem, it simply means that those children need help. Their character is being assassinated on social networking sites, they are being talked about in the halls, and they are enduring in silence. If any child needs someone, whether it be a teacher, cafeteria worker, parent, or bus driver, to step in, it is the child who is being bullied.

Teachers cannot conquer bullying alone. The support of parents, co-workers, support staff and the victim’s peers to stand up and say that bullying will not be tolerated is the only way to stop bullies from causing harm. Teachers and parents must teach tolerance, the importance of self-advocating, and the necessity to stand up and speak out for those who may not be able to do so. There is no easy solution. There is no quick cure. Yet there is hope that tragedies like those seen in the last year can be prevented.

 

Updated: September 23, 2016

Originally Published: April 6, 2010

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  • Nancy
    December 6, 2011

    I think some teachers contribute to the rise of bullying. My daughter is in third grade and has been bullied since 1st grade. There are 2 girls who pronounced themselved the most popular and the smartest in 1st grade and continue that with any new students. Kids want to be part of the in kids and will turn on kids with these 2 girls tell them 2. All three teachers promote that these girls are the smartest and best students. They favor them in the classroom and the playground. I find this unprofessional and very damaging to kids. As a parent that has spoken up, the results has been retaliation by the teachers to my daughter. The Principals just respond “Be nice.” I think there needs to be an immediate action to bullying that let’s the kids know that their behavior will not be tolerated. These 2 girls will only get worse as they get older. They have been given the green light by the teachers, staff, and school.

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  • Michael
    July 17, 2011

    I am a middle school aged boy living in south carolina who has been bullied since the 4th grade.
    But my 6th grade year was the worst. I was getting bullied at least 4 days a school week.
    The type of bullying that was used was verbal, emotional, and physical. Every time I told an adult the bullies
    were never getting in trouble. I even had thoughts of suicide. Eventually the physical bullying started.
    Even if the bully was attacking me in the hall, if I tried to defend myself I would be expelled.
    The only thing that kept me from taking my own life was some very good friends helping me through the bullying. So please do something to help bullying become illegal in all states please tell every anti bullying site to help end bullying. ONCE AND FOR ALL!

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  • Juanita
    August 27, 2010

    I agree with a plan to put a halt to any undesireable behavior that could easily turn into bullying! However, since the victim is not easily identified..,an instructor needs to implement desireable behavior constantly throughout the school year to bring about peace in & around school grounds and classroom activity. parents need to be aware and involved in any efforts to discipline an unruly student irregardless of race,gender,age,or background. early involvement is key to setting up consequences for maintaining equality & successful educating!

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  • Kerri
    June 27, 2010

    Our school (K-6) instituted the Olweus approach to bullying this last school year and I was surprised at what a positive difference it made. The Olweus approach focuses on empowering the bystanders to help bring a stop to bullying. In addition, it includes not only the students, but the school staff (both certified and non-certified), parents and community at large. It teaches a common language for adults to use and a protocol to follow for bullying situations. By empowering the bystanders, children feel more confident in standing up to what they know is wrong. I am looking forward to continuing to use this approach during the 2010-2011 school year.

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  • Gina Kaisler
    May 3, 2010

    I know the winner has already been chosen but I still wanted to let ReallyGoodStuff know how excited I was to see this product! Every spring and fall, I go through and gather my pages of wishes to cull down to an “affordable amount”… This product was one that was NOT going to be cut!!! It is going to be an integral part of my fall curriculum – thank you!

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  • Brandi Jordan
    April 7, 2010

    And the winner of the drawing is….Tracy Hyde! Congratulations, Tracy! Thanks to all who participated! Lots of great comments and ideas about bullying prevention education! Thank you!!

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  • Robin
    April 7, 2010

    As a jr. high teacher, I see bullying in one form or another almost daily. I do what I can to talk to the students on both sides of the issue to diffuse the situation. It seems that kids this age are just so mean to each other! Thanks for the help in publishing these posters!

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  • Melody
    April 6, 2010

    As a parent of a child in elementary school and a student teacher in 4th grade, I have seen bullying everywhere! It saddens me to see that the bullying programs the schools are implementing are failing. When will the parents be held accountable if their children are bullying others?

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  • Brandi Jordan
    April 6, 2010

    Great comments everyone! How young do you think students should be when they first start learning about bullies? Is preschool too young?

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  • Barb J
    April 6, 2010

    Educating students about bullying, and preventing bullying, needs to start early in elementary schools. Students need to be taught appropriate behaviors, as well as ways to seek help when they know there is something wrong.

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  • Jon Nakano
    April 6, 2010

    Cyberbullying is a growing concern. Kids are writing words, sometimes anonymously, without seeing the effects they have on others. Stand Up! Speak Out! is a great motto to follow.

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  • Laura Grosset
    April 6, 2010

    As an elementary school teacher, students need to be aware there are many different kinds of bullying. School staff needs to spend some time teaching role playing and effective coping strategies to students as well as recognizing bullying behavior.

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  • Amy
    April 6, 2010

    As a teacher who sees bullying and as a parent of a chiild who has been bullied I can not say enough about how important anti bullying programs are in schools. It needs to involve EVERY adult that comes in contact with students from bus drivers to custodians, admin., caf. workers, and sec. Everyone needs to be trained and on the same page. I also think parent groups should be educated in a no-nonsense manor. The victims need help and support.

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  • Heather Tordella
    April 6, 2010

    It is not only scary how much bullying comes into play, but also the plethora of ways that children (and adults) can bully with all of the tools of technology in the 21st century.

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  • Dolph T.
    April 6, 2010

    At the elementary school where I teach, I think some students bully as a form of preemptive strike against a perceived slight by other students. The bully is insecure in acceptable interaction and so acts out. The situation escalates when the target attempts retaliation, “I don’t stay hit.” Soon, there are two (or more) frustrated, crying children who do not have effective coping strategies. There are two behaviors that have been proven to mitigate bullying but they are very difficult to employ. One is for any bystander to speak up and make it clear to the bully that his/her behavior is unacceptable. The second is for the target of the bullying to ignore it and walk away. Our kids know these strategies and can write essays about them. But when it comes to actual practice, they too often get sucked into old, destructive behaviors.

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  • Tracy Hyde
    April 6, 2010

    I agree that bullying is something that we as school staff need to be concerned with…I work with students from K-10 at a charter school and we are in the process of implementing an anti-bullying program because I am pulled out of my schedule nearly daily to deal with “relational bullying” and “mean girls” garbage. I love the idea of adding it to an activity “night” to get parents involved (like literacy or multi-cultural night). It definitely starts and ends with home being a necessary area for buy-in. If we don’t have the adults who model the appropriate behavior for these kids, we’ll be beating our heads against a wall.

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  • Joy
    April 6, 2010

    I find it disheartening how much bullying has become out of hand. It does not matter what type of school you attend, who you are, or what your background is, at some point in your life you will be bullied. Anti-bullying programs need to be consistent throughout the school, and need to start as early as possible.

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  • Christine
    April 6, 2010

    It’s ashame that bullying happens, because none of us want it done to us. Parents and teachers need to come together and fight it. Perhaps in addition to Literacy/Family night that many schools do, have a Anti-Bullying night to get parents more involved in stopping it.

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  • Peggy Helm
    April 6, 2010

    Bullying has taken on terrible dimensions with adolescents. Strict consequences are part of a plan to stop this problem from spreading. At my school, our district has implemented a plan to instruct student on how to be respectful to others by learning more about each and every student. Creating a respectful environment however begins at home. This is an effort that will require all of us working together to solve.

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  • Kristen J
    April 6, 2010

    As a middle school teacher, I think it is imperative that I stand up for students who I see being bullied. The more people who make it clear that this is something which should not be tolerated, the better the chance that the message will get through!

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