(RobertMijas.com) According to the National School Safety Center (2000) schools safety programs are broadly defined to include prevention and intervention programs that target students, schools and the community. Conflict resolution and peer mediation programs are being implemented as strategies to help reduce school bullying problems at various schools. Administrators and staff are educated to further train students and school staff how to identify warning signs of bullying and ways to legally deal with aggressive or violent bullying behaviors, through these programs.
Bullying is not a new phenomenon , as there have always been students who want to harm others for various reasons. However, bullying has become a growing problem that has administrators and staff searching for new means of combating this problem. In recent years bullying has increased dramatically and attention to this problem has increased among personnel, the general public, and policymakers. Nansel et al. (2001) indicate bullying is prevalent among American school children, directly involving approximately 30% of school children within a school semester. Some claim these numbers to be even higher, as many incidences are unreported.
The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (NYVPRC) (2001) suggests there are several risk factors in bullying. Despite the belief that bullies act tough to hide the feeling of insecurity, they often are confident, with high self-esteem. Bullies are generally physically aggressive and are typically hot tempered with pro-violence attitudes. Bullies are easily angered and impulsive with a low tolerance for frustration. Additionally, the NYVPRC reports, bullies have a strong need to dominate others, are more likely to fight, drink and smoke more than their peers. Thus, they tend to get into trouble more often. Moreover, they may dislike and do poorly at school.
According to Scarpaci (2006), awareness is the first step towards addressing this problem. Teachers need to learn the indicators of bullying in both the victims and the bullies. In order to recognize the victims, teachers should look for those with poor social skills and a few friends, as they are at a higher risk of being bullied. Moreover, physically smaller and students who look different can also be targets of bullying. Common indicators that a child is at risk of bullying involves a decline in the grades, a decrease in interest in the school, feigns for illness, and a child that chooses ubiquitous routes home (Scarpaci, 2006).
On the other hand, there is also a need to recognize profiles for possible bullies. Not to employ punishment, but to help them deal with this aggression. Bullies are more difficult to identify, compared to the victims, as they appear self-confident, but they may really have low self-esteem (Scarpaci, 2006). Bullies also manifest more violent behavior with age, and have the tendency to suffer depression, suicidal behavior, alcoholism and are incapable to tolerate perceived differences. There is a need to eliminate harassment from students. In order to deter bullying, teachers need to encourage and practice openness and tolerance in class.
No one deserves to be a target of school bullying. Schools need to recognize and uphold the importance of equality within the school in order to protect their students and to ensure the quality of their schools’ performance and profit. Poilpot-Rocaboy (2006) asserts that no individual in the school should be subjected to school bullying, which could be equivalent to “acts of moral harassment, which had for their purpose or effect a degradation of his working conditions liable to violate his rights and his dignity and to alter his physical and mental health or to compromise his professional future” (p. 2).
If schools recognize the dire effects of school bullying, they must act in order to reduce or eliminate this behavior. The sense of urgency is not observed in many schools, as studies report. According to Greer and Schmelzle (2009), there is a common disregard for actively countering bullying. Klein (2009) reports that a 2007 survey Zogby International conducted confirms that nearly 50% of U.S. students report they have experienced some type of school bullying.
Time is needed in order to formulate policies and programs in order to discourage, eliminate and prevent this behavior in schools.
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Nansel,T.R. (2001). Bullying Behaviors among US Youth: Prevalence and Association With Psychosocial Adjustment.
National School Safety Center (2000). America’s Safe Schools Week. Retrieved September 10, 2009 from http://schoolsafety.us/Safe-Schools-week-p-24.html
National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center (2001). Bullying.Scarpaci, R. (2006) Bullying effective strategies for its prevention. Kappa Delta Pi Record (42)4, 170.
Poilpot-Rocaboy, G. (2006). Bullying in the Workplace: A Proposed Model for Understanding the Psychological Harassment Process, Research and Practice in Human Resource Management, 14(2), 1-17.
Scarpaci, R. (2006) Bullying effective strategies for its prevention. Kappa Delta Pi Record (42)4, 170.