Bullying

An overview of bullying in schools, laws to protect students, and the impact on education. This section provides great tips on protecting your child from being bullied or becoming a bully. Learn about the latest anti-bullying laws and see how cyber-bullying effects your child’s school performance.
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10 Ways to Protect Your Kids from Bullying at School
Empower yourself and your children by learning what parents can do to protect their children from bullies and bullying behavior as they enter this new school year.
The start of a school year can be an exciting time for kids as new teachers and friends broaden their world in many positive ways. However, the presence of a bully in that world can transform what should be a constructive learning environment into a scary place for kids. With many disturbing reports of suicides recently as a result of bullying, it is important for parents to acknowledge the potential for bullying and take steps toward prevention or dealing with a situation that already exists. Fortunately, there are many positive actions parents can take to protect their children from bullying.
 

Types of Bullying

 
The Mayo Clinic lists a number of different types of bullying children might experience today, including the following:
  • Physical Bullying – hitting, kicking or other types of aggressive physical behavior
  • Verbal Bullying – incessant teasing, name calling, spreading rumors or racial slurs
  • Cyber Bullying – tormenting another child through cell phones or the Internet
Children may be bullied through just one of these channels, or a combination. The dangers of cyber bullying are particularly pronounced, since this type of bullying can invade the privacy and safety of the home environment. While bullying that is done at school can be left there at the end of the school day, cyber bullying can become incessant. Psychologists believe that is one of the reasons why cyber bullying has resulted in a number of suicides by the victims of the behavior in recent years.
 
Know the
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Anti-Bullying Laws Finally in Place
The new wave of anti-bullying legislation is finally finding its way to school districts. Learn about three states leading the way in anti-bullying laws.
States across the country are putting anti-bullying laws in place, many in response to tragic circumstances that resulted from excessive bullying within their schools. While some already have laws on the books that require schools to comply, others are continuing to fight the battle to transform anti-bullying from school policy to state law. Are laws against bullying essential, and will they effectively protect the victims? We'll take a look at some of the states grappling with this challenge to find out.
 
This video describes anti-bullying laws in general.
 
 

Laws in Place in Massachusetts

Last May, the governor of Massachusetts, Deval Patrick, signed a piece of anti-bullying legislation into law. The Massachusetts Bullying Prevention Law required all public schools to file anti-bullying plans with the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education by the end of last year, according to a report in the Holbrook Sun. The schools' plans needed to include the following:

  • Clear descriptions of what bullying looks like
  • Statements prohibiting bullying in the schools
  • Procedures for school staff to report incidents of bullying
  • Guidelines to promptly respond to reports of bullying
  • Guidelines to ensure the safety of victims
  • Procedures to notify parents and guardians of the victim or perpetrator
  • Guidelines to report incidents of bullying to law enforcement officials
  • Provisions for anonymous reports
  • Professional development to build awareness and skills for dealing with bullying
  • Disciplinary actions for perpetrators of bullying
The plan should also have provisions for false reports of bullying, as well as strategies to protect those who report bullies
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Can We Finally Say Goodbye to Bullying?
Bullying is becoming the red hot topic in education circles today, and the U.S. Department of Education is taking note. Learn about the anti-bullying summit held by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and how schools may finally put an end to bullying.
Bullying has been a problem in schools for generations, but the easy access to students granted by the internet and cell phones has broadened the problem exponentially. Case in point: 15-year old Phoebe Prince committed suicide in January of this year because classmates bullied her in person, through social networking sites like Facebook, and with threatening texts sent to her cell phone.
 
The opportunity for cyber-bullying and traditional bullying may be getting larger, but the public outcry is also increasing as the media is bringing more of these high profile cases to attention.
 
The U.S. Department of Education responded to the bullying problem this year by hosting the first ever anti-bullying summit in Washington D.C. this month. According to a report at CBS News, the goal of the summit was to "engage governmental and non-governmental partners in crafting a national strategy to reduce and end bullying." The summit was headed by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and attended by many professional educators who want to put a stop to this destructive behavior once and for all.
 
This brief video from the Mormon Channel illustrates bullying in clear terms.
 
 
How Prevalent is Bullying?
 
In opening remarks at the summit, as reported by the Christian Science Monitor, Duncan presented some of the following statistics:
  • Just three years ago, nearly one in every three middle and high school students said they were bullied at school.
  • One out of every nine high school students reported that they had been shoved, tripped or
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Bullied to Death: Should Public Schools be More Responsible for Mean Girls?
In the wake of the Phoebe Prince tragedy, many are questioning whether schools should be more responsible for bullying.
While campus violence and bullying have been heated topics in recent years, the wake of a young teen's suicide, allegedly prompted by aggressive bullies, is forcing community members to reexamine the responsibility of schools in the fight against bullies

Should Schools Pay the Price for Bullying?
 
In the most recent high school tragedy, 15-year-old Phoebe Prince sadly ended her own life after nine teenagers allegedly harassed and bullied the young girl. According to Slate News, District Attorney Elizabeth Scheibel has filed charges against the nine alleged bullies, further asserting that Phoebe Prince endured three months of extreme bullying under the awareness of some school leaders. According to Scheibel, “The investigation has revealed that certain faculty, staff, and administrators of the high school also were alerted to the harassment of Phoebe Prince before her death.” 
 
 
In fact, supporting these claims are reports from Phoebe’s mother, as well as fellow students, who reported obvious struggles endured by the teen. For example, Phoebe’s mother was so concerned about her daughter’s depression at school that she contacted school officials on multiple occasions, asking about whether or not students were making threats and attacks against her daughter. Furthermore, some students reported seeing Phoebe crying in the hallway outside her classroom, as well as crying in the nurse's office on the day she took her life.  
 
However, many argue that school leaders could not have been fully aware of Ms. Prince's harassment, and furthermore, they are in no way responsible for the young girl’s
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Female Bullies in Public Schools: The Rising Trend and School Reactions
Learn more about the growing prevalence of female bulling and how public schools are managing the important issues.
According to recent studies, boys are three to four times more likely to engage in bullying-type behaviors than girls. While traditionally the focus on resolving bullying issues has been geared towards interventions with male students, public schools are now realizing how girls too may be engaging in as much, and often more, bully-related activities that are often overlooked by administrators, teachers, and parents. 
  
As educator Renee Wilson-Simmons supports, “Until recently, the word bully usually conjured up an image of a boy bigger and stronger his age, who knocked kids around, demanded money and ‘favors’ […] Today, the public is less likely to assume bullying is the sole province of boys, as the media have reported on increases in official rates of female arrests for assault, weapon carrying, and gang activity.” 
 
This video examines female bullying.
 
 
As investigators are studying the ways in which girls bully each other, experts are working with public schools to help all students, regardless of gender, find alternatives to these negative behaviors. 
 
The Rise of Female Bullying
 
How the Actions are Ignored
 
As Renee Wilson-Simmons reveals, the stereotype of bullying has been traditionally based on the concept that boys only harassed other boys. As investigators engage in more research, however, experts are discovering that girls too often act as powerful bullies; however, their bullying behavior is overlooked due to the often quiet and passive negative actions that are associated with these activities. As Wilson-Simmons explains, “Although a range of studies has found that boys bully and
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