August 15, 2013
Deeneice Goodson, M.A.
Bullying is defined as intentional, repeated acts of aggression by a more powerful person or group on a less powerful victim. According to research in the American Journal of Public Health, almost 30% of US middle and high school students are involved in bullying ( December 2012, Vol 102, No.12). There are several types of bullying such as: verbal, cyber, relational, physical, and indirect bullying. Bullying can occur due to sexual orientation. This may also lead to affects of low self-esteem, anxiety, and depression.
According to some educators the problem of bullying within our nation’s schools has grown to epidemic proportions (Simplicio, 2012).Bullying has caused changes in school curriculum, new types of lesson plans, teaching strategies, and methodologies to deal with the issue. Bullying is important to be aware of because human service professional work with children, the families, and within the community. Within today’s society, there is now a zero tolerance for bullying in all schools. No behaviors will be tolerated and alternative school, suspension, expulsion, or meetings with law enforcement are the consequences for these behaviors (OBPP).
Bullying is not just someone punching you in the face or calling you out of your name. Bullying is about power and abuse and is a subset for aggression. There is a general agreement that for a behavior to be considered bullying, it must have 3 components: it must be intended to harm, it must be repetitive, and a difference of power- physical, social or other must exist between the bully and the victim (Olweus, 1993). There are different types of bullying us as school staff; teachers, child care workers etc. can look out for. Physical bullying has intent to injure another person. As stated in the article, psychical bullying accounts for approximately 30.5% of all bullying combined. (Simplicio, 2012). Physical bullying tends to receive more attention from school personnel, and this includes behaviors such as hitting, kicking, or any form of violence toward another child. As previously stated, schools now have developed zero tolerance polies. This means, they are not tolerating any violent behavior or bullying of any form (Limber & Small, 2003). There is also verbal bullying and relational bullying. Verbal bullying includes name calling, the spreading of rumors, inappropriate or offensive remarks, teasing, and verbal threats. According to the Library Think Quest, 46.5% of verbal bullying takes place in the school system. Relational bullying is a form of social isolation. The behaviors include gossiping, intentionally leaving students out of activities, spreading rumors, and other measures that seek to change peer groups (Olweus, 1993). Kaukiainen (1992) describes relational bullying as an “attempt to inflict pain in such a way to make it seem like there has been no intention to hurt at all” (p.118). Transitioning from elementary school, to middle school bullying begins to increase. Lesbian, gay, or bisexual students and those questioning their sexual orientation are often at great risk for negative outcomes like depression, suicide, drug abuse, and school difficulties (How to stop bullying, 1994). The article states, LGB students have reported high numbers of bullying as opposed to those who were not lesbian, gay, or bisexual. They also had higher numbers of drug use, truancy, and suicide attempts. Victims of bullying can also suffer from health problems including psychological well-being, poor social adjustment, psychological distress, and physical symptoms (Rigby, 1996,). The symptoms and there severity vary, it is easy to say that feeling of unhappy and uncomfortable may affect a student’s ability to learn, focus, and be successful in school. Also, victims of bullying may suffer from low self-esteem, fewer friendships, school absences, and even suicide (Meraviglia, Becker, Rosenbluth, Sanchez, & Robertson, 2003). Guides have been created for teachers, parents, and students telling them how they can deal with bullies. The media all over the world including Facebook have been drafted into the anti-bullying movement. These strategies encourage students to “tell someone” on their fellow classmates who believe to be bullies. Some children and students are afraid to speak up because of retaliation issues. Children who do not feel safe can simply report to someone in authority and that adult must take appropriate action (Simplicio, 2012).
Meraviglia, M., Becker, H., Rosenbluth, B., Sanchez, E., & Robertson, T. (2003). The respect project. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 18, 1347-1360. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at School: What we know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell. Walton, G. (2005). The notion of bullying through the lens of Foucaukt and critical theory. Journal of Educational Thought, 39(1), 55-73. Rigby, K (1996). Preventing peer victimization in schools. In C. Sumner, M. ISsreal, M. O’Connell, & R. Sarre (Eds.), International victimology: Selected papers from the 8th international symposium: proceedings of a symposium held 21-26 August 1994 (pp.303-309).