Nov. 1, 2003
|I want to share with you a story about a 12 year old boy. His name is Skyler. Skyler was an unusual boy that had significant problems in | |school with both peers and teachers. I don’t mean minor problems, I mean severe problems. Everyday of his school life was filled with the | |tortures of bullying, by several students as well as by a teacher. From the moment he got to school until the moment the bus doors closed | |behind him he suffered constant abuse. He would be called names, kicked, tripped, pushed, threatened and more. One student even wrote a | |paper about “How to Kill Skyler”. This paper had Skyler’s name on the top of it and was handed directly to Skyler. The paper contained | |statements like, Skyler needs to die by the time he is 13. I wonder how Skyler will die? Will I do it? Will he kill himself? When the | |teachers aren’t watching I am going to jump him. There were several more comments along the same lines. The interesting part is how the | |teacher graded the paper, by telling the author to use proper punctuation and grammar. She also noted in question form if he really felt this| |much anger. Everyday of his life was consumed with fear and hurt. Skyler quit his basketball team because he didn’t want to be harassed | |anymore. He had no friends, he had no allies, and he was completely alone. |
|The first thing I would like to do tonight is to look at the problem of bullying. |
|Let me define bullying for you. | |Bullying involves a power imbalance in which the child doing the bullying has more power due to factors such as age, size, support of the peer| |group, or higher status. | |Bullying is usually a repeated activity in which a particular child is singled out more than once and often in a chronic manner. | |Bullying is carried out with intent to harm the targeted child. | |Bullying includes physical aggression, verbal insults, the spreading of malicious rumors or gossip, and threats of exclusion from the peer | |group. | |Most of you do not have children, but you will. How safe will they be at school? | |"For the child who's been targeted by a bully, their life is a living hell," said Glenn Stutzky, a school violence specialist at Michigan | |State University. "Bullying is probably the most frequently occurring form of violence in American schools today and it's really the engine | |that's driving the majority of violence. It's a huge problem." | |Children spend one fourth of their day at school. What happens while they are there? According to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family | |Foundation – 74% of all eight to eleven year olds said that teasing and bullying occur at their school, more than smoking, drinking and drug | |related incidents. Children ages twelve to fifteen had an increase to 86%. It has been reported that 90% of all school age children have | |been bullied at least one time in their school life. 75% of you said that you had been bullied one or more times in your life. Much of the| |bullying occurs at the Middle School level. Much of the teasing occurs at the Elementary school level. 160,000 students in America miss...