Children can be cruel and it is not uncommon for grade school students to come home in tears after someone called them a name on the bus ride home. Unfortunately, many parents do not understand the potentially damaging effects of bullying not only on a child’s confidence and self-esteem but also on his academic performance.
Shocking Statistics About Bullying
According to StopBullying.gov, a website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, nearly 50% of students in grades 4 through 12 experienced bullyings within a given month, and more than 70% of students admit to having seen bullying occur in their school. Verbal and social bullying are the two most common types, including things like name-calling, teasing, spreading rumors, stealing belongings, sexual comments and gestures, or physical violence. Physical bullying happens less often than social bullying and cyberbullying, though it is becoming increasingly prevalent, is still less common.
While many people assume that a little bit of bullying is harmless – it may even be helpful for the child to teach them how to stick up for themselves. In reality, however, an estimated 160,000 children miss school on any given day due to fear of bullying by other students. Every day, more than 280,000 students are physically attacked in schools and one out of ten students who drop out of school mentions repeated bullying as a factor. Bullying can have a serious impact on a child’s educational experience, and not just by causing him or her to
Types of Bullying
- 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
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
- 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
Should Schools Pay the Price for Bullying?