While school-based bullying has been an issue since the beginning of public school institutions, public schools today are seeking out new solutions to provide all students and parents with support and guidance. Today, in an effort to educate both bullies and victims, schools are implementing early-intervention programs to combat the many issues of bullying in public schools.
Bullying in Public Schools: Signs and Symptoms of Problems
According to the public school program Stop Bullying Now, parents and school officials can identify specific signs as indications of a bullying issue
. In fact, according to studies reported by Stop Bullying Now, an incident of bullying occurs ever seven minutes, as the experts assert: “Children, after all, learn from what they see us do, rather than from what we say. When adults do not intervene, bullies may feel there is nothing wrong with their actions. Targets may feel they deserve the bullying.” To prevent a negative cycle of violence and attacks, both kids and adults can identify three specific types of bullying: physical, verbal, and exclusive.
Physical bullying signs, as Stop Bullying Now supports, are evident through “hitting, kicking, pushing, choking, punching.” Verbal bullying, on the other hand, is seen by “threatening, taunting, teasing, starting rumors, hate speech.” Lastly, exclusive bullying is evident, often, through a less obvious symptom. In this third case, when a child is bullied by being excluded from activities, “This does not mean that a child should not have the right to choose to play, or not to play, with another child; it does mean that children should not be allowed to systematically exclude others: ‘No one play with Mary;’ ‘No one wants to play with him;’ ‘Don't be her friend.’” Bullying can lead to serious physical and emotional ramifications; specifically, oftentimes the act of bullying results in the bully blaming the victim for the abuse, or can also result in the victim blaming him or herself for the abuse. The impacts can be deeply emotional and painful.
Who are the Bullies?
While bullying can occur at any location, among both female
and male students in any age group, research is learning of specific patterns of bullying behavior. Generally, however, as Stop Bullying Now further supports, bullying is “Done by someone with more power or social support to someone with less power or social support.” Yet in striving to find out more about bullying patterns, CNN revealed in their investigation “Study: Bullying Rampant in US Middle Schools” that nearly four out of five middle school students admitted to acting like a bully at least once each month. Adding to this, “A new study that found such aggressive behavior to be more common than previously thought,” as 558 Midwestern middle school
children revealed that 80% of young teen behavior
included “physical aggression, social ridicule, teasing, name-calling and issuing threats within the previous 30 days.” Again, while bullying can occur from school grades as young as kindergarten and even preschool, it is being theorized that the middle school teens are engaging in more bullying-type behaviors than any other student group.
Stopping the Bullying: Public School Initiative
As CNN reveals, research surmises that bullies can account for nearly 15 percent of a school’s population. To solve this crisis, CNN asserts that “parents and teachers must learn how to deal with bullying behavior, because that makes it clear that it's not just a normal part of growing up.” While each school has its own specific consequences and codes of conduct, there are rising national organizations that are specifically aiming to cease the bullying acts that are occurring in public schools.
The National Center for Bullying Prevention (NCBP)
The National Center for Bullying Prevention is one of the many national organizations focused on helping students learn more positive behaviors to combat bullying issues. As the organization asserts, “It might seem like bullying is too big a problem to solve, but it’s not! When people work together, they can accomplish great things.”
To get the community, including parents and students, involved, NCBP provides community members with links and articles for information and support. Specifically, the program lists appropriate books for parents to read with their children, provides lesson plans for teachers to talk about issues and alternatives to bullying, while also providing creative outlets, such as role playing activities for students, to become more open and aware to bullying issues. By taking advantage of these resources, NCBP asserts that adults and students are engaging in the solution: “What can you do? Reach out to younger students and help them learn what they can do to prevent and respond to bullying.”
Juvenile Justice: Anti-Bullying Programs
In an additional alternative for support and community involvement, the organization Juvenile Justice outlines specific strategies for combating bullying issues in their article “Developing an Anti-Bullying Program.” As the organization explains, studies show that nearly 60 percent of boys have been, at some point, engaging in bullying activities. In fact, by the age of 24, nearly 40 percent of these bullies had possessed three or more criminal convictions.
To deal with these issues and hazards, this juvenile organization has created a Bullying Prevention Program, where leaders strive to “reduce bullying in schools, and reduce the overall effects of bullying in the community, including school violence, truancy, and adult crimes.” This program is completely available online, as many schools and community leaders have taken advantage of such agendas in order to confront any issues in their school and/or community.
To find out more about bullying issues at your child’s school, speak with teachers, counselors, and/or administrators for information and tips for support. If you are concerned about your son/daughter’s safety and/or behavior, counselors and administrators can discuss their school’s specific bullying program to offer guidance and support.