Bullying in schools is on the rise in Canada. Schools in Nova Scotia all the way to Vancouver have seen dramatic increase in reports of various types of bullying. The fact is, bullies do not differentiate. The target they choose are often those individuals who are weaker, less knowledgeable about society, vulnerable due to size or stature or simply because they are different. No two bullies work in the same way, and many use a multitude of techniques to over power or control their victims.
Bullying At School
Almost 47% of all Canadian parents report that at least one of their children had been victimized by a bully. There are three main types of bullying:
- Verbal – Verbal bullying usually consists of threats, name calling, taunts and teasing.
- Physical – Physical bullying entails physical contact of any kind, including slapping, hitting, kicking, punching and shoving.
- Social – Social bullying is somewhat different than verbal and physical bullying. The previous two forms are more or less one on one interaction. Social bullying is used by a bully to influence groups of people and persuade them to taunt, tease or harass a person. In essence, they strive to make others think negatively of the person being bullied. Making fun of another person’s disability, mannerisms or cultural differences are excellent examples of social bullying.
Bullying in schools is common. Kids of all ages are constantly trying to win the approval of their peers or gain an advantage over their “competition”. While this can happen in any environment, schools are the perfect location for bullies to excel at and perfect their tactics.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police take reports of school bullying seriously and work hand in hand with schools across the country to help reduce the instances of bullying. Mental health professionals also work with both the victims and the bullying to help get to the bottom of the issue in each case. The detrimental effect bullying has on the victim can cause life long consequences. Addressing the issue at hand and giving the student the proper tools to neutralize the situation is vital to helping the victim regain their self esteem and move forward.
Statistics On High School Bullying
According to statistics provided by the Canadian Red Cross, the steady increase in various types of bullying has had a dramatic affect on how victims of the abuse learn and function within a school setting. In fact, 89% of teachers in Canadian schools claim that bullying was one of their greatest concerns. Bullying and the violence associated with it have become a significant problem for both students and teachers. Children who are not bullied, often have friends who are victims. No one is immune and the effects ripple outward affecting students, teachers and parents.
- Over 50% of students who are bullied on school property do not report the incident to a teacher
- In 2010, 33 Junior and Senior High schools in Toronto reported that just short of 50% of students had been bullied during the school year
- The number of bullying incidents for girls peaks between grades six and nine at almost 37%
- The number of bullying incidents for boys peaks in the eighth and ninth grades at 47%
- Boys in grades six and seven report higher incidences of sexual harassment
- Girls in grades nine and ten report higher incidences of sexual harassment
- Girls are more apt to be bullied indirectly, especially when it comes to cyber bullying
- Boys are more apt to be bullied directly by their peers
There are numerous surveys from each of the Canadian provinces that show a dramatic increase in the number of reports concerning bullying. What is frightening is that with 50% of bullying cases going unreported, the numbers that are being uncovered are grievously low.
Knowing the School Bully
It is important to understand the bully mentality. Many people think of a school bully as being the school trouble maker. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are the first to admit that is no longer the truth. Teachers, coaches and faculty members have also been identified as perpetrators when students have reported bullying cases. Generally, bully is considered any type of behavior that allows one person to exert power over another. This can be through manipulation, threats (both written and verbal), physical violence, harassment or taunting.
How to Stop Bullying in School
There are several suggestions on how to stop bullying in schools. Canadian authorities, as well as teachers and faculty members, first and foremost, urge students to talk to an adult. If the incident occurs on school grounds, it is imperative that teachers and faculty members are made aware of the situation so appropriate measures can be taken. Several other options include:
- Document the incident so you have a record. This will backup your statement if the school officials need more information.
- Contact local police or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police if you are threatened, harassed or physically injured during an altercation. All cyber bullying attacks should be reported to local law enforcement.
- Contact your telephone or internet service provider to report unwanted or unsolicited texts and phone calls.
- Unwanted contact can also be reported to social media sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube.
Part of stopping bullying activity is identifying the problem and making sure the bullies know there will be consequences for their actions. Canadian law enforcement officers take all reports of bullying seriously, especially when they occur on school property.
With many of the country’s schools beginning to use laptops as part of the teaching process, cyber bullying is becoming more prevalent as well. Teachers and school administrators encourage students who are cyber bullied to immediately go to the police as well as a faculty member at the school. While many cyber bullying events are harmless, a few may be indicators of something much more serious. Notifying a trusted adult is the best way to handle this type of situation.
A student who continues to receive unsolicited emails via the internet, can block the sender in addition to reporting the incident to their parents. The same is true if a student receives unwanted communications of any kind over their cell phone. Blocking the number and reporting the situation to their phone service carrier can help control the problem.
Canadian provincial governments are encouraging school districts to implement anti-bullying measures that are designed to put an end to the problem from both directions. It is important that the victim receive the help they need. It is equally important that the person acting as the bully be made to atone for their actions. Finding out why the person has chosen to target another individual attacks the issue at its core, putting an effective end to the situation.
Anti-bullying programs can be extremely beneficial when addressing bullying in school. The Canadian Red Cross offers educational materials to help address the issue of bullying. Parents, students and faculty members often are unaware of how large a problem they are actually dealing with. If more than half of bullying incidents go unreported, that means twice the number of reported cases is a more accurate number.
With the majority of these cases occurring on school grounds, it is up to the school faculty and parents to begin to uncover the cause. Implementing anti-bullying programs that bring the student body together as a whole is a good way to start. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research states that the country ranks 9th out of 35 countries when it comes to 13 year olds being the victim of bullying.
Creating a strong support system within the student body will help everyone become more comfortable when dealing with bullying. Canadian teachers and educators are well aware that students who are bullied in a school setting are much less likely to look at school as being a safe environment. Many lose their interest to learn and interact within the classroom. This loss of interest has a dramatic impact on the student’s development and productivity.
It has been proven that in school districts where anti-bullying programs have been implemented, the reports of bullying have decreased. Students who are involved in these programs do better academically and are more likely to intervene when they see another student being harassed or bullied. Anti-bullying programs do not mask the problem, but help students and teachers find effective ways to deal with the problem.