The definition of bullying is undeserved, hostile behavior among school aged children from early primary grades up to high school and even college that starts a power imbalance. Bulling is constantly repeated over time. Bullying causes severe damage physically, emotionally, socially, and mentally to the person being bullied. It is considered an imbalance of power, whether it is with popularity, strength or knowing information about someone that may be private or embarrassing. It can come in many different forms such as leaving someone out, threats, physical attacks, and verbal attacks. Someone can also be cyber bullied, which is when the bullying is online through instant messages, social media, or via texts. Learn all you need about Bullies in School Now!
- 58% of kids never report a bully incident
- There are more and more bully incidents in schools in the US every year. This is believed to have been related to the increase in violence at home.
- Over 50% of school aged children have experienced being bullied, and the same number of children have engaged in cyber bullying.
- Over 1/3 of teens have been threatened online by a bully.
- One quarter of school aged kids have been threatened and bullied via the internet or cell phone.
- More than half of kids being cyber bullied do not inform their parents of these occurrences.
Bullies in School: CYBER BULLYING
Cyber bullying is when someone gets bullied via the internet. This usually happens on social media sites, but can also happen on websites. When cyber bullying occurs, it usually involves a large number of people seeing the abuse. There are social media pages and websites that have been created simply in order to bully a person or group of kids at a school. When these pages are created, peers are urged to participate in the bullying, or at least see it, laugh about it, and talk about it later. Sometimes other kids will not desire to participate in this cyber bullying, but will do so anyway because of feeling pressure to do so from the kid or group that is doing the bullying.
Bullying can happen anytime during the school day. If a child is being cyber bullied, that can occur anytime the bully has access to the internet. A bully can attack in the classroom, on the playground, the lunch room, or on the bus. Usually when there is a lapse in supervision, a bully attacks. This could be before and after school when faculty is preparing for or finishing up the day.
Bullies will do anything that they can to hurt their target, but there are mainly 3 kinds of attacks. Physical bullying is anything that is done to physically harm someone. This will include stealing one’s belongings and breaking them or vandalizing them, hitting, punching, pushing, slapping, and even spitting. Verbally attacking is anything that has to do with words. Sexual harassment, threats, inappropriate gestures, teasing, and name calling are all verbal attacks. Social bullying, which has become more and more rampant as social media gets more popular among kids, consists of embarrassment through rumors or pictures, leaving someone out and encouraging other kids to stop being friends with the person. It doesn’t matter what form the bully takes, it is always hurtful and damaging to the target.
There are many signs to look for if you believe your child is being bullied. As soon as you believe your child is displaying one or several of the following signs, be sure to have a serious talk with them as soon as possible. Also talk to your child’s teachers and even their friends, if possible. Here are some examples:
- Your child stops wanting to go to school, and doesn’t care about the clubs, sports and groups that they used to be involved in at school. Oftentimes, they will claim to be sick, or they will find another excuse not to attend. Your child may stop hanging out with friends, or being socially active at school and at after school activities and extracurricular activities.
- Your child comes home without the personal items that he left home with, and claims to have lost them at school.
- Your child’s things are damaged, such as book bags, clothing, jackets, and he has no explanation for the damage.
- Your child may appear to be unusually moody or depressed, and may even show signs of inflicting personal harm.
- They may exhibit low self-esteem or seem hopeless about life.
- They may come home with injuries and not tell you why or how they happened.
A child who is bullied can show long term effects. It causes emotional damage, and this can definitely come out when the person grows into adulthood. These effects can occur long after the incident, as in years or even decades.
- Long term bitterness; need for revenge; anger issues.
- Difficulty trusting loved ones and friends; overly sensitive.
- Avoidance of social situations; problems with connecting with other people.
- Constant desire to always be alone; problems with self-esteem even as an adult.
- Possibly susceptible to being bullied as an adult.
- Difficulty finding and keeping a job.
Bullies in School : PREVENTING BULLYING
A teacher has the most influence on a student while they are inside the teacher’s classroom. Teachers dominate the time spent by teaching and discussing the class subject with the students, so there are fewer opportunities for a bully to attack another student during. Teachers must be careful when it comes to free time during the class. When the students are not kept busy and are likely to interact without direct communication with the teacher, bullying is more likely to happen within the classroom environment.
Inside the classroom, teachers can take the following precautions to cut down on students being bullied:
- Model the behavior that you would expect each student to have. Show how interaction should only be positive and should never be hurtful or embarrassing. Encourage leadership in a positive manner. Encourage students to work together in positivity.
- Have students working in groups to display positive problem solving in order to be able to do this in a positive manner outside of the classroom, also.
- Make all rules clear to every student at the beginning of the year. Be consistent in discipline. Reward behavior you would like repeated, and punish behavior that you don’t want to see again. Make sure to always stay in control of the students during class.
Controlling student behavior outside of the classroom is a little more difficult. There are many student events, such as club meetings, sporting events, sport practices, after school study sessions, field trips, etc. Administration and teachers should have policies in place at the beginning of each year, and these policies should be very clearly stated to every student and parent. Have material on hand that you can pass out to every student and encourage them to read and understand this material.
- Have clearly stated rules in every classroom that define the word bully and that clearly define the consequences set forth by administration in every bully situation.
- Have a way to report incidents anonymously. Students need to know that there is help available. This should also be a non-judgmental atmosphere for students who need help, or are reporting a problem.
- Ask students periodically throughout the year about any situations that may need to be addressed. Assess any problems before they become more than the administration may be able to handle. Keep communication open with administration, teachers, students, and parents.
Students can certainly participate in bully prevention within their school. Here are some examples of ways students can be active in preventing situations with bullies in school :
- Communication with peers about bullying problems.
- Leadership roles within their peer group.
- Helping establish rules and policies with faculty about bully prevention. Students can also aid in discipline decisions before the school year starts.
Parent involvement is definitely important in outlining policies, discipline and unacceptable behavior. Here are some ways that parents can stay active in preventing bullies in school:
- Involvement in Parent Teacher Organizations
- Being a positive influence on their own child and their child’s peers.
- Always talking with their child about bully prevention, and “what if” situations, on both ends of bullying.
Bullies in School: Students Bullying Teachers
In rare instances, teachers are bullied by their students within the classroom. Students will gain control of the room and start to intimidate the teacher. Bullying a teacher can come in the form of threats, vandalism, sexual harassment, verbal and physical abuse. This is difficult to deal with because many times the teacher is embarrassed to report these situations to administration or to other teachers. Male and female teachers experience this type of bullying. Many teachers have also fallen victim to cyber bulling. This can ruin a teacher’s career, their personal life and family, and can be so bad that unfortunately it can ruin a teacher’s credibility. Many times these situations happen because of a grade on a test or project, and sometimes it can happen because of a teacher trying to gain control of bad behavior within their classroom.
WAYS TO STOP BULLYING WHEN IT HAPPENS
As soon as you observe behavior that is conducive to bullying among students, take action. There could be severe consequences if one allows the behavior to go on without doing anything about it.
- Make sure everyone in the area is safe.
- Stop the incident immediately.
- Separate children who are involved in the incident.
- Keep other children calm and reassure everyone involved that you are there to help.
- As you intervene, make sure you are being respectful, in order to show all parties how to act with respect even in these situations.
- Meet the needs of any traumatized children and medical needs if anyone is hurt.
There may be instances when you will need to get police and emergency services involved if a child is hurt or has emotional and physical trauma. When circumstances are far more serious than just a scuffle in the hallway, you will need to call. Here are some examples of when you should contact emergency services:
- There are weapons on the premises.
- Anyone was threatened with serious harm or hate crimes.
- Anyone is seriously hurt.
- Any evidence of sexual abuse.
- Anything illegal has happened, or anyone was accused of an illegal crime.
Things You Should Not Do In Cases of Bullies in School
There are instances when the adult involved can do the wrong thing and cause further damage in a bully situation. Here is a list of things you should not do when coming upon a situation where a bully is hurting their victim.
- You should not question the children involved in public or around the other children in the situation.
- You should not force any bystanders to publicly tell what they saw happen.
- You should not talk to the children involved in the same room. Separate everyone immediately.
- You should not make any assumptions or ask anyone to apologize at the time of the incident.
- You should not immediately ask questions such as “why” and “what happened” but instead concern yourself with any injuries or emotional harm first.
- Never ignore a bully situation, or expect it to be a one-time occurrence. Always make sure there are adults involved in any reconciliation process.
Bullies in School: THE INCIDENT
When you find out that something has happened between two students, remember to get the facts first, before you assume that it was a bully situation. Ask children involved (separately) and bystanders what the circumstances were. Don’t ever assume that you know what happened. Then you will need to decide if it is a bully situation or not. You should always remember that kids will have normal spats, and they may never escalate into a bully situation. You may also realize that assuming it was one child’s fault may get you into trouble. You could be surprised that a normally sweet and quiet child could attack another child, but you should always keep in mind that the child could have possibly been the one being bullied, and is now seeking retaliation. Never assume you know what happened before you approach the situation.
Bullies in School: SUPPORT
The child being bullied is going to need a lot of support from the administration, teachers, and parents involved. Children may need to be reminded that their being bullied is never their fault. They also may have a hard time talking to an adult about it. This could be out of fear or embarrassment, but always allow the child to speak when they are ready. Just make sure that there are necessary adults in place to support the child when they do decide to talk about the situation. Let the child help decide what avenue to take to resolve the problem. Always listen to the child, and remember that as an adult, it is your obligation to listen closely to and adequately support any child being bullied while in the school’s care.
Bullies in School: DEALING WITH THE BULLY
When dealing with the actual bully, remember to keep in mind the rules and policies that your school has in place. These must always be adhered to while the child is in the school, and if the incident happened at the school during school hours. Always let the child know that bullying is not tolerated and that disciplinary actions will be taken. All adults involved need to consider the background of the bully. Although punishment will ensue, there may be a situation at home that may be causing the child to act out and bully other children. Try to allow the bully to take part in the apology to the other student. Possibly allow the bully to see how the other child is feeling afterward. This could possible prevent any further bad behavior by that student.
Bullies in School: COMMUNITY
Bring the community into your effort to stop bullying at school. Communities may have other positive strategies to prevent bullying. Partner up with the neighborhood community center to keep their role active in the fight against bullying. Wherever children go within a community, they are always susceptible to being bullied.