School is a second home for many. Almost everyone goes to school. School is where people interact with others and obtain experiences which can help them live in the real world as an adult. School is where parents send their children so they can learn about this world. No child should be scared to attend their school. No child should go to school and feel violated or attacked by their classmates.
Unfortunately, people’s perception of schools is not always every student’s reality. No child expects to be bullied in school. However, in 2013, “about 22 percent of students ages 12-18 reported being bullied at school during the school year” (NCES 2017). It has been reported that 49% of U.S. students in grades four-12 experienced being bullied by other students during the school year. The study has shown that the “involvement in bullying as occurring two or more times within the past month, 40.6% of students reported some type of frequent involvement in bullying, with 23.2% being the youth frequently bullied, 8.9% being the youth who frequently bullied others, and 9.4% playing both roles frequently” (Bradshaw, Sawyer, & O’Brennan 2007, p. 366).
This is a huge issue and an a significant impact on children and their future. Bullying in school needs to be acknowledged. The community needs to get involved in solving this issue as soon as possible.
In 2001, Craig from Queen’s University and Hawkins and Pepler from York University used naturalistic observations on school playground to study bullying in schools. A total of 58 children, 37 boys and 21 girls, from Grades one to six were observed. “Peers were present during 88% of bullying episodes and intervened in 19%. In 47% of the episodes, peers intervened aggressively” (Craig, Hawkins, & Pepler 2001). Bullying is an aggressive behavior. The child who is bullying has more power than the child who is receiving the abuse–the victim. Bullying is done verbally and physically. In this study, Craig, Hawkins, and Pepler focused on the interactions between the bullies and the victims. During the research, they assessed children’s attitude towards bullying through self-report methodologies. Most children reported that they do not support bullying. Despite children’s attitude towards bullying, 85% of bullying episodes had peers present, including active participants to passive onlookers. The study showed that even when the peers are present, they rarely intervened.
“They were observed to intervene in 10% of bullying episodes in the classroom and 11% of bullying episodes on the school playground” (Craig, Hawkins, & Pepler 2001). Those who intervened were often on the victim’s side. Clearly, there is an undeniable discrepancy between what children think of bullying verses what they should do about it. When taking a deeper look into this matter and splitting the possibility of intervention by genders, “there were no difference in the likelihood of intervention for boys and girls present during bullying” (Craig, Hawkins, & Pepler 2001). Children know that bullying is wrong, but don’t know what to do or how to handle the issue.
According to the CDC (2006), bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social or educationally. Bullying is widespread in United States and is an on-going issue. According to the 2015 nationwide survey, 20% of high school students were bullied on school property. Bullying is not only done physically and verbally; “an estimated 16% of high school students reported in 2015 that they were bullied electronically in the 12 months before the survey” (CDC 2016).
The children who are victims to this crime are often physically injured, experience social and emotional distress and sometimes even death. Bullying is an on-going crime that is continuously put on the victim which can increase the risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties and poor school adjustment for the victim. Bullied victims not only have physical problems but mental problems which can affect their performance in school as well.
“Compared to youth who only bully, or who are only victims, bully-victims suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems” (CDC 2016).
Victims of bullying include all genders, all ages, weight and backgrounds. According to CDC, some children are more likely to be victimized than others. Some of the characteristics and tendencies victims share are: low self-confidence, fearfulness, poor social skills, low popularity, few or no friends, below-average size, strength, or condition and limited sense of humor. Perren (2005) also suggested that families of male victims are often too close or overly protective, families of female victims lean towards unhealthy emotional abuse. Lack of family support at home can cause them to lack the ability to socialize and interact positively with others at school.
Bullying is a community issue and requires a community solution. There is no definitive reason as to why bullying happens in school. According to Maedica (2013), multidisciplinary approach involving the victim, victim’s parents, bullies, bully’s parents, school personnel, media, non-governmental organizations and security units are required to effectively prevent bullying in school. More specifically, to prevent bullying, parents need to engage with their child and pay close attention to them, all age groups need to get continuous training and education about bullying and schools need to teach bystanders the importance of their role. Empowering bystanders is very important because often, they fear for retaliation and feel powerless to help. It is essential to empower bystanders by helping them “understand that silence and inaction can make bullies more powerful” (Wolfson 2016).
Bradshaw, C.P., Sawyer, A.L., & O’Brennan, L.M. (2007). Bullying and Peer Victimization at
School: Perceptual Differences Between Students and School Staff. School Psychology Review, 36(3), 361-382.
CDC. (2016). Understanding Bullying. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/bullying_factsheet.pdf
Craig, Wendy., Hawkins, Lynn., & Pepler, Debra. (2001). Naturalistic Observations of Peer Interventions in Bullying. Malden, MA; Blackwell Publisher.
EDC. (2008). Victims under Eyes on Bullying. Retrieved from: http://www.eyesonbullying.org/victim.html
Maedica, Buchar. (2013). Bullying Among High School Students. Magister and Empire Publishing House.
NCES. (2017). Bullying under National Center for Education Statistics: Fast Facts. Retrieved from: https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=719
Perren, Sonja. (2005). Bullying and Delinquency in Adolescence: Victim’s and Perpetrator’s Family and Peer Relations. Swiss Journal of Psychology, Vol 64(1).
Wolfson, Elijah. (2016). How to Stop Bullying in Schools. Retrieved from: http://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-stop-bullying#why-its-a-problem3