Retired S/Sgt. RCMP
January 30, 2006
A STUDY ON BULLYING
The purpose of this study is to determine if the problem of bullying in our schools in Saskatchewan is a serious problem and what steps are being taken to control this problem and is it working. The second part of this study is to assess the new Youth Criminal Justice Act to determine if it is an effective tool for the justice system to control youth violence. To better understand the problem of bullying, the author of this study interviewed teachers, parents, police, victims, crown prosecutors, school employees and school board members, past and present. In addition to these interviews, the author read and reviewed the many studies that have been completed in the past in regards to bullying and takes into account their determinations and recommendations for action in this study.
WHAT IS BULLYING?
The Honorable Marvin A. ZUKER, Ontario Court of Justice defines bullying in his paper regarding Bullying, School Violence and Youth Crime as “the tendency for some children to frequently oppress, harass or intimidate other children, verbally, physically or both, in and out of school” with repeated and systematic harassment and attacks on others. Bullying can be perpetrated by individuals or groups. He goes on to state in his paper, that bullies are aggressive and they may be quite self-confident, but they lack empathy for their victims. They feel a sense of entitlement and have little tolerance towards what is new or different. A more pervasive form of bullying is cyber-bullying. Threatening text messages, breaking into e-mail accounts to spread malicious messages, spamming victims, creating mean-spirited web sites have all become ways for bullies to harass or exclude their victims.
WHAT CAUSES BULLIES?
Jane ST. CLAIR in her paper “By Parents, For Parents”, states that “bullying is a learned behaviour, not a character trait.” She goes on to state that researchers have not been able to find a link between bullies and any particular religion, race, income level, divorce, or any other socio-economic factor. However, there are studies that suggest that bullies will most often come from single parent homes or low income earners. According to Dr. Peter SHERAS, 40% of bullies are themselves bullied at home or at school. Research has shown that a victim at home is more likely to be a bully at school. The reason may be that when a bully watches another child appear weak and cowering, it disturbs him because it reminds him of his own vulnerability and behaviour at home. The report goes on to say that “poor parenting is the hallmark of their children becoming bullies”. These parents may be permissive and unable to set limits on their child’s behaviour, often discipline inconsistently, are self-centered and neglectful and they often have prejudices based on race, sex, wealth and achievements. A child growing up in these conditions fails to learn empathy and compassion towards others.
PREVALENCE AND INCIDENCE OF BULLYING
An international study done for Health Canada (1999) found that 56% of boys and 40% of girls in grades 6 and 8 admitted that they had bullied someone that year; 43% of boys and 35% of girls said they had been targets of bullying.
In Canada, 14% of boys aged 4 to 11 years bully others and 5% are targeted for bullying by others sometimes or very often. Approximately 9% of girls between 4 and 11 years bully others while 7% are victimized. (Craig, Peters, and Konarski, 1998)
Victimization increase with age (Craig, Peters, and Konarski, 1998)
A study of 500 Vancouver students by Dr. Shelly Hymel found (Nelson, 2002) - 12% of students reported being bullied once a week.
- 13% of students said they bullied others on a regular basis.
Thirty-eight percent of 5000 Canadians aged 5 to 14 reported being bullied at least...