Bullying in the USA has been a big problem for a long time now. Though people of all ages can be bullied it most often happens to school aged children. Over the years the problem has grown in elementary, middle and high schools throughout America. Parents and school officials in most states have come together to try and stop bullying, with varied results.
Within U.S. schools, for every four kids enrolled, one is bullied regularly. Surveys have determined that the age group dealing with the most cases of bullying is students enrolled in sixth grade straight through tenth grade. Statistics show that 30% of bullies have been bullied by other students. Bullying occurs both at school and away from school in the cases of many children. Some 77% of students have been bullied verbally and even mentally. Reportedly, 14% of those students end up having a very severe negative reaction to bullying and abuse from their classmates. This causes problems such as declining grades, more anxiety and less desire to be around friends and have a social life.
In a study conducted across U.S. schools for every five students enrolled one admits to having bullied their classmates. Close to 50% of kids who are bullied at school are bullied while they are using the restroom. On average, 85% of students who are being bullied at school do not receive help from their teachers and other school staff members.
As far back as 2010, of every student enrolled in a U.S. school from kindergarten to twelfth grade one in seven of them have been bullied by a classmate. In a 2010 study 61% of the participants reported that school bullying was driving kids to shoot other kids. The study also found that for every 20 kids enrolled in school one kid has seen a classmate carrying a gun in school.It also found that 23% of high school freshmen take a gun to school with them. Of all the incidents involving school shootings, 75% of them are reportedly caused, at least in part, by bullying. The shooter is intent on getting revenge on the classmates who have been bullying them.
Many times bullying of school aged children begins because a child’s home life is abusive in some way. Of the students who experience an abusive home life, 54% of them turn to bullying their classmates. Elementary school children are often bullied on the playground and teachers reportedly rarely intervene.
Physical conditions such as being overweight make it more likely kids will be bullied. In fact, statistics show that any kid grossly overweight is 63% more likely to be bullied by their classmates. Bullying is also a problem for kids who have medical conditions that affect the way they appear to others, such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, as well as for kids who suffer from ADHD or a learning disability. Even among today’s adult generation, 83% of them were bullied growing up because they had a problem with stuttering.
The most common type of bullying among school aged children is verbal. Verbal and mentally bullying include perpetuating runors about a classmate and using derogatory terms and/or obscenities. These derogatory terms are often targeting children according to their gender, race, religion, culture and sexual orientation. A small percentage of school aged children are bullied because they have yet to become sexually active. A larger percentage of U.S. students have been bullied for being part of the LGBT community, 86% to be exact.
Bullying also includes sexual harassment of one student by another. The American Association of University Women released a report stating that of all the students enrolled in U.S. schools, 76% of girls as well as 85% of boys have experienced sexual harassment at school. In only 18% of these cases the sexual harassment was performed by a teacher or other adult; the remaining 82% was performed by students against their classmates.
While verbal abuse is the most common, cyber bullying has become a close second. In 2010 studies showed that roughly half of the high school students in the country have been a victim of cyber bullying. Students often take and post embarrassing pictures of their classmates on the Internet, and this counts as cyber bullying. While cyber bullying was originally perpetuated mainly by boys, many school aged girls have begun to engage in cyber bullying as well.
Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter have made it easy for kids to cyber bully their classmates. Roughly 35% of high school students have received threats from classmates via social media sites and the Internet in general. Of all the teenage students in the U.S. half of them have reportedly used the Internet to say something nasty about a classmate.
Cyber bullying has become more popular as it has become easier thanks to so many students carrying mobile phones these days. Smart phones have the ability to give kids access to their social media pages while they are at school and this facilitates the bullying.
Another type of bullying comes in the form of social emotional bullying. This involves groups of kids excluding other kids from their activities and conversations in an attempt to make them feel uncomfortable and insecure about themselves, something many kids struggle with already. This is the type of bullying that girls use much more often than boys do.
Physical bullying is also something that often takes place between school aged children. This includes striking a classmate, punching, kicking and shoving them as well as tripping them and spitting at them or on them.
Bullying in the USA often leads to suicidal tendencies in school aged victims. In fact, a study performed by Yale University determined that kids who are bullied consider suicide more than kids who are not bullied ever do. When elementary school children are bullies they often miss more school than kids who aren’t and they are more likely to drop out of school as well. As they become older, kids who were bullies in elementary school often end up committing acts of vandalism, truancy, theft and fighting. Many of these kids end up being arrested by the time they are in their early 20s. A study that included over 500 school aged children showed that kids who behave aggressively by the time they are eight years old are likely to become violent criminals by the time they are 30 years old.
In December of 2011 a Staten Island teenager killed herself after being bullied by her female peers at school. After her romance with a boy in her school went wrong, she became the target of a female bully at the school. The bullying continued as she was lying on her death bed in a local hospital and her peers were badgering and badmouthing her on Facebook. Upon her death the police did not want to rule that the cause of the death was bullying because they reportedly did not have not enough proof that it was.
Many schools have organized their own programs to stop bullying in America. While some schools embrace their programs more than others these programs, in general, are becoming increasingly popular. Of all the bullying in USA programs there is a single program that was designed based on an unofficial model of what an anti-bullying plan should include. Rural junior high schools in South Carolina now include intervention programs that are applied on both an individual and a group basis. Within an individual classroom or school intervention, bullying is prevented as much as possible. Some of these interventions even cover entire communities within South Carolina.
There have been campaigns online that have been created to address the issue of cyber bullying. As part of one of these campaigns a father was interviewed about his son having committed suicide as a result of being bullied. Prior to this interview the grieving father created a website that addressed anti-bullying and dedicated it to his son’s memory. The website was called Kindness Above Malice and in the website content the grieving father wrote that he was devoting the remainder of his life to help other parents avoid suffering the devastating loss that he and his wife suffered through the death of their son. Just shy of a year after his son died, the grieving father was so overcome that he also committed suicide.
Discouraging Bullying In The USA Schools
Experts on the subject of school bullies state that their peers often reinforce bullying of others, either in a passive or non-passive way. One Los Angeles elementary school has gone so far as to send not only bullies, but those students who witness it and do nothing, to mediation sessions held after school day hours. Students are then educated on why bullying is wrong and on what they can do to prevent kids from bullying other kids in schools across the United States of America.