In the News President Obama & the First Lady: Conference on Bullying Prevention The President and First Lady Michelle Obama discuss how we can all work together to end bullying as an accepted practice and create a safer environment for our kids to grow up in. White House Conference on Bullying Prevention materials Legislature Spotlights Bullying in Schools Texas: currently more than 15 antibullying bills filed in the Legislature this session Schools are failing to keep students safe Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorney's Office recently reached an agreement with the School District of Philadelphia to address reports of severe, pervasive bullying of Asian American students at South Philadelphia High School Watch video here
The Problem Bullying – in general [from POP Guide No. 12 (2002)] Is widespread and perhaps the most underreported safety problem on American school campuses 10 to 29 percent of students reported to be either bullies or victims Has long-lasting harmful effects, for both the victim and the bully Occurs more often at school than on the way to and from. Occurs most frequently during elementary school, and slightly less often in middle schools.
What Constitutes Bullying Bullying has two key components: repeated harmful acts an imbalance of power Bullying behaviors includes assault, tripping, intimidation, rumor-spreading and isolation, demands for money, destruction of property, theft of valued possessions, destruction of another's work, and name-calling. Also sexual harassment ostracism based on perceived sexual orientation; and hazing.
Reluctance To Report Most students do not report bullying to adults Teachers may underestimate extent of bullying and can identify only a portion of the actual bullies Reasons for underreporting Fear retaliation Victims feel ashamed Believe teachers won’t intervene or confidence that things will change if they do Believe telling parents or teaches will make matters worse Don’t want to be a snitch
Student-witness role central in creating bullying opportunities In each bullying act, there is: a victim the ringleader bully assistant bullies (join in) reinforcers (provide an audience or laugh with or encourage the bully) outsiders (stay away or take no sides), and defenders (step in, stick up for or comfort the victim)
Bullying Behavior More often at school than on the way to/from Boys are more likely to bully than girls Boys bully both boys and girls Tend to rely on physical aggression (direct bullying); Girl bullies Mainly bully girls Often use teasing, rumor-spreading, exclusion, and social isolation (indirect bullying) Bullies have other peers involved about half the time Racial/religious bullying about 25%, 8% frequently
Characteristics of Bullies Aggressive (parents physically punish/violent) Dominant (with low empathy) Slightly below average in intelligence and reading ability (by middle school) At least of average popularity (most studies) Poor social skills (compensation) Young bullies tend to remain bullies, without appropriate intervention
Incidents of Bullying Occurs most often where adult supervision is low or absent: In schoolyards, cafeterias, bathrooms, hallways, on busses Classroom bullying may have more to do with the classroom management techniques a teacher uses Cyber-bullies can operate anonymously and harm a wide audience
Victims of Bullying Most victims in the same class or year as bully 30% bully is older; 10% bully is younger Victims often (not always) smaller and weaker than their peers Nonassertive, socially incompetent Having friends reduces chance of victimization Chronic victims: 6% of 10% of school age children
Consequences of Bullying Psychological and/or physical distress Chronic absence, low concentration Low self-esteem, can lead to depression Physical health problems for chronic victims
Operation Mullion (Tilley Award Winner) Hampshire Constabulary Link to full report Reducing Anti-Social Behaviour and Crime in and around Mayfield School Issue 1 Assaults / Bullying within school The partnerships biggest concern, especially in the light of media publicity, was bullying. Over a 2-year period assaults within Mayfield reported to police had increased from 4 to 18 a year. All occurred during school hours and 17 were student on student related. The culture in the school between students appeared to be that bullying was accepted. A majority of the incidents reported were as a result of retaliation between students for some misunderstanding or confusion or tended to be related to long-term arguments. As bullying had become accepted within the society as the “norm,” many more incidents were occurring and going unreported due to a lack of confidence in the situation being managed effectively. Belief created an environment that allowed a bullying culture to flourish. The Underlying Causes appeared to be:
Bullying between children and acceptance of this as the norm.
Lack of confidence in school reporting procedures.
Partnership Response Best Practice in dealing with bullying is already in place … were analysedand in partnership consultation, a suitable Policy was drawn up by the school. This policy was then implemented by:
Advertising a “No Bullying Campaign” throughout the School.
Postersin corridors with names and contact details of key individuals.
Appropriate rule setting, set up and maintained.
Mentorsutilised from existing school council and support put in place for victims.
This had a profound effect on the reporting of incidents. The confidence of the students in the School processes and the Police improved. Reporting of incidents rose dramatically and with it our relationship with the students blossomed. We became an intrinsic part of the procedures of discipline. The school invited us to case conferences and re-integration meetings to work with individual students. This role has developed and we are now regularly involved in many of these situations. It also became accepted that Police were visiting the school to work with staff and students, and the students became more receptive to us.
Assessment Overall crime in Mayfield School reduced 36% savings of in cost police investigations of school crime (£4800) Reported assaults increased by 100% in first year of program Staff and students interviews revealed that students appeared to trust and understand the systems available Reduced in following year to below pre-program levels