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Policy Research Paper - School Bullying


This research paper discusses school bullying from the perspective of history, what is being done about it now and recommendations for policy changes that adequately address the problem. There is a great amount of research in the past decade that focuses on school bullying and models that have been developed to engage comprehensive solutions to the problem and generate ideas that can address the problem in realistic ways. Until recently, bullying was seen as a normal part of childhood. After several well-publicized incidents, people around the country and the world have begun to realize that bullying is a form of abuse, insidious and dangerous. Bullies are not necessarily the typical ignorant louts with low self-esteem that they have been portrayed to be. Bullying is done by children who are self-aware, are otherwise good students and are savvy in the ways of electronic communication. Single solutions to the problem are not effective, nor are negative consequences only. Models have been developed that take a proactive approach to the problem, negating consequences that contribute to the problem rather than solving it.


March 25, 2016   /   Visits: 2,622 Printable versionPrintable

Introduction

The brutal assault upon Professor Macdougall, perpetrated yesterday by a notorious theatrical manager in this city, is one of those outrages that call for exemplary punishment in a civilized community. The ruffian who made the assault has so long enjoyed the privilege of venting his brutal passions upon all who incur his displeasure, that, that he has come to consider it his right to insult, bully, beat and maim any person who dares cross his path or interfere with his interests. If this is indeed a civilized community -- if we live under the protection of law -- if our courts and judges possess any dignity and any power, it is time that outrages of this character should be punished with sufficient severity to prevent their repetition.

Mark Twain. SAN FRANCISCO DRAMATIC CHRONICLE, December 6, 1865, [p. 2].

Bullying has been an issue for as long as there have been human beings. Twain wrote of them; Charles Dickens had several of them in several of his novels, among them Noah Claypole in Oliver Twist and Dolge Orlick in Great Expectations. In each case, they were children terrorizing other children and simply getting away with it because bullying was considered the norm. Not much has changed about it even in these modern times-the motivations are the same, the damage is the same, and until very recently, the lack of recourse on the part of the victims was the same.

But all of that is beginning to change. With the advent of cyberspace, bullying has now become much more complex and much more insidious. Part of it is the anonymity of online bullying, which allows people to say nearly anything they wish to say without fear of reprisal. Part of it too is the ubiquity of online access, where children and adults can go online at any time of day, any day, and specifically target individuals to terrorize and harass. But recent efforts by the schools, he courts, the police and other interested groups have begun to take a hard look at the practice of bullying, both in the workplace and in the schools. A spate of suicides linked directly to the effects of bullying has brought the issue front and center in the nation's conscience.

A recent article in USA Today highlights the issue and the ramifications for both the victim and the bullies. Phoebe Prince, a 15-year-old Irish immigrant, committed suicide in January of this year after being bullied by a group of older teens. These older teens were not like the stereotypical bullies of the past, though that kind of bully has not completely disappeared. These children were well mannered with adults, dressed well, and were, to outsiders, the epitome of nice kids. What they did to Phoebe was, however, terrifying.

She became romantically involved with a senior football player. Other girls resented this, and over a period of several months they bumped into her, sent her threatening text messages, and called her 'Irish slut' to her face. School officials, meanwhile, did nothing to stop it, though the bullying was known. Phoebe's mother complained to school staffers, and some of the bullying was witnessed by teachers in the school. Though the school's inaction was not criminal, the District Attorney called it 'troubling.' The school's assumption was that there was no proof that the bullying led directly to her suicide.

This is an example of the new kind of bullying. They have become so subtle and cunning that school officials do not know what this kind of bullying looks like and do not know how to stop it. Experts say that some bullying is so subtle that without training, it is almost impossible to see.

In the wake of Phoebe's case, however, the District Attorney filed felony charges against nine teenagers connected with Phoebe's death. The felony charges range from statutory rape to stalking, and civil-rights violations. Six of the students were charged as adults; the other three as juveniles. Seven of the nine are female.

Considering the recent efforts on the part of some governmental officials, schools, parents who have become aware, and the general public to combat this kind of violence, research is needed to explore further options as remedies to and consequences for bullying incidences at schools. Policy efforts aimed at curtailing the practice are a good start, but more needs to be done. A simple zero-tolerance policy alone is not effective. Training for school personnel, education for all students, and developing a culture of trust and tolerance are other major steps that need to be taken to prevent tragedies such as Phoebe's and other, less-publicized, though equally destructive incidences of school bullying.

Using journals, surveys, and professional websites such as the National Association of School Principals, this research will highlight what is being done, some of the history of bullying and efforts to control it, and new measures designed to treat bullying as a serious crime and not just, what mischievous children do. It is hoped that for those reading it-school officials and policy-makers-some change will occur that will enlighten people to the reality of the violence perpetrated in our schools and lead to policies and changes that can and will address the problem of bullying realistically and with some force.

This research will highlight the problems of bullying, efforts to address it, and recommend remedies to combat bullying in the schools and the permissible violence that spawns it.

Literature Review

Historical Context

Before beginning this literature review, it is important to define just what bullying is, the forms it typically takes, and its prevalence. Peter Smith, of the Goldsmith College Unit for School and Family Studies (nod)., has outlined the definition and types and prevalence of school bullying and violence. According to Smith, bullying is repeated oppression of a less powerful person, physical or psychological, by a more powerful person (taken from Farrington, 1993). Smith and Sharp define it as 'the systematic abuse of power,' while Rigby defines it as a desire to hurt plus a harmful action plus a power imbalance plus repetition plus an unjust use of power plus evident enjoyment by the aggressor and generally a sense of being oppressed on the part of the victim.

Bullying involves direct physical attack, indirect physical attack (on belongings and property), direct verbal attack, indirect verbal attack (rumors), social exclusion from normal group activities and institutional aggression or manipulation (setting unrealistic goals). Males are more likely to physically attack, while females are more relational in their attacks. Frequency of attacks increases then decreases with age, and physical attacks peak earlier than verbal or relational attacks.

School Bullies
According to the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center, about 30% of youth in the US are believed to be involved with bullying, either as a perpetrator, victim or both. A 2001 national survey (Nansel, T.R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R.S., Ruan, W.J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P.) of students in grades 6-10 revealed that 13% reported being bullies,11% reported being bullied, and 6%said that they had been bullied and were bullies themselves. Males are more likely to report being hit, slapped or punched, while females are more likely to be the target of rumors and sexual comments. Male youth target both genders. Females typically target other females, using more subtle approaches such as gossip.

Education Com reports that bullying is an age-old problem because children are afraid of retribution and consequences, and adults often do not handle bullying episodes with respect to the victim. Bystanders usually do not intervene, allowing the bullying to continue. Adults are not always present, and this is when most bullying occurs. Additionally, adults do not always provide good models of authority, and bullying becomes an effective way to deal with problems.

Beaty and Alexeyev report that bullying research has only been conducted since the 80s. Olweus conducted studies in Norway after three young boys committed suicide because of bullying by their peers. Olweus studied 140,000 children in 715 schools and found that 15% of children were involved in bullying either occasionally or more frequently. and that 94% of students were victims and 6%wereclassified as bullies. After Olweus, other researchers studied the issue of bullying. Reports indicated that bullying was quite widespread in England and Australia. The percentages were remarkably similar. In the United States, the victimization was about 10%. In Canada, the rate was about 8%. A National Center for Educational Statistics report in 2000 indicated that almost 30% of schools thought that bullying was the single most disturbing issue with regard to discipline in the US.

Review of Programs and/or Practice

The US Department of Health and Human Services (n.d). has explored the problem of school bullying and has stated that bullying is not a fact of life, that it is a form of abuse. Indeed, they declare that abuse and harassment are better words for bullying, and that it should not be considered a normal part of growing up, as has been thought in the past. The problem is now recognized by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS), and other agencies. A Bullying Prevention Initiative is the result, and will be apart of prime time television, public service messages, and bullying prevention materials. Most people, of course, know what bullies are, and they usually know why some people are bullies. In spite of this, bullying remains a serious problem, with children who have been bullied for years suffering in silence and unknown to anyone or ignored by those who do know. Because of school incidents that have been publicized, like the Phoebe Prince case, people are now beginning to recognize that children have a right to a safe school environment and not to be bothered or humiliated by others in the school. It is clear that ignoring bullying has disastrous consequences: it leads to violence or to suicide if it is not addressed.

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program has as its goal the prevention of bullying at all levels. To reach this goal, the program has listed subgoals in order to meet their main goal. Among the subgoals is an awareness and knowledge of problems related to bullying, the debunking of bully-related myths, getting teachers and parents actively involved in the schools, which means taking responsibility for what the students are doing at school. Teachers are encouraged to intervene in suspicious situations, and to relay clearly to the students that any act of bullying will not be tolerated. If a problem has been identified, teachers should take the initiative in having serious discussions with victims, bullies and their parents. Follow up should always occur to make sure that measures taken are being enforced. Schools should develop clear rules against bullying. The rules can be a basis for classroom discussions about bullying and what negative consequences should be like for instances of bullying. It is important that teachers enforce the class rules and also praise students when they do follow the rules. Parents, as well, should be aware that this is being done in the schools so that measures can be followed up at home, reinforcing the message.

The Vermont Model, in Beaty and Alexeyev, is based on research by Dounay, a policy analyst for the Education Commission of the States, and it lists several recommendations for developing anti-bullying programs. This program has been adopted by several states, and requires the State Education Commission in Vermont to develop and distribute a model plan for school discipline. Among the recommendations: 1) bullying is a violent, disrespectful, and dangerous behavior that cannot be tolerated, 2) parents should be able to file reports of suspected bullying, 3) students should be able to file anonymous reports of bullying,4) require teachers who witness bullying to report it to school administrators, 5) require all school administrators who become aware of bullying to investigate it, 6) include a school intervention plan that deals specifically with bullying, 7) prohibit school bullying in the school handbook, 8) require the school to notify parents of a suspected bully about possible responses and consequences, legal or otherwise, 8) require the school to notify parents of victims of actions taken, and 9) require the school to keep data on reported and verified bullying incidents and make this data available to the public.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, fifteen states as of 2003 had adopted laws addressing bullying among schoolchildren, and others are considering such legislation. Bullying is identified differently in different states, as the following suggest:
Colorado: "Any written or verbal expression, or physical act or gesture, or a pattern thereof, that is intended to cause distress upon one or more students."
Georgia: "Any willful attempt or threat to inflict injury on another person...or any intentional display of force such as would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm."

Several states have included legislative findings in their anti-bullying statutes. Legislative findings accentuate the seriousness of the issue to legislators. The following are examples:

New Jersey: "Bullying, like other disruptive or violent behaviors...disrupts both a student's ability to learn and a school's ability to educate its students in a safe environment."

Vermont: "Students who are continually filled with apprehension and anxiety are unable to learn and unlikely to succeed."

Some state laws require that school officials develop a policy that prohibits bullying. In Louisiana, "Each city, parish, or other local public school board shall adopt and incorporate into the student code of conduct...a policy prohibiting the harassment, intimidation, and bullying of a student by another student."

Other states require employee training on bullying and bullying prevention. Six states require individuals to report bullying to authorities. Some laws recommend discipline for children who bully. One state requires that children who are bullied be protected by policies and plans that address them.

Tim Feinberg, writing in Principal Leadership Magazine, an organ of the national Association of School Principals, addresses the issue of bullying and lists step to help prevent it. He also lists several independent anti-bullying programs, among them the Olweus Program, PeaceBuilders, PATHS (Providing Alternative Thinking Strategies), RCCP (Resolving Conflict Creatively Program), and SecondStep.

Discussion of Relevant Issues

The most important issue is safety, and the extent of the violence perpetrated on children by other children. This is a relatively new policy area for many schools, and there are still legal details to be worked out. Although most legislatures have worked out the legal issues, there are still too few court cases upon which to establish a precedent.

As mentioned earlier, one of the purposes of this paper is to recommend policies that are effective and realistic in the real world of legal maneuvering and school climate such that the policy recommendations are lasting and efficacious, resulting in real declines in the incidences of bullying and mitigating as much as possible the trauma faced by the victims of such violence.

Many schools have tried policies such as zero tolerance in the hope that by having such a policy, bullying will be reduced to zero. According to the Safe and Responsive Schools Project by Indiana University, zero tolerance policies have been enacted by politicians and others who believe that such policies, by their no-nonsense nature, will have a lasting and immediate impact on school violence. What the zero tolerance policies have done instead is create a lot of controversy. With the introduction of these policies, there has been an increase in the numbers of weapons confiscated at schools. But the policies have also led to suspensions or expulsions for using paper clips, cough syrup, Midol or homework not being completed.

Zero tolerance has also led to suspension or expulsion being used more frequently as a disciplinary tool. However, there is no evidence that suspension or expulsion is an effective tool in changing student behavior or improving school safety. Although there is a widespread assumption that suspension and expulsion are last resort measures for serious school behaviors, the fact is that these measures are being used indiscriminately. Most suspensions and expulsions were for offenses considered to be less than serious. Students, too, wishing to reduce the rate of suspension, simply transfer to another school to avoid being suspended or expelled, and find that it is easier to do that than change their behavior.

There are other issues as well. Suspension and expulsion data show that there is a disproportionate bias with regard to race and ethnicity. African-American students are suspended or expelled at a rate more than twice their white counterparts, and are sometimes punished more severely for the same offenses. In the long term, suspension and expulsion are associated with a high rate of dropout. While the perception is that schools are being tough on crime, the reality is that the policies associated with zero tolerance are ineffective and actually contribute to the problem of school behavior.

There are some basic assumptions about school violence prevention. There is a relationship between minor discipline and major serious disruptive behavior. Schools must do everything they can to prevent smaller episodes from becoming violent episodes. The approach to violence prevention is based on three principles:

1. Violence is preventable.

While there is no guarantee that schools that have the best violence prevention programs will be free of school bullying. But data shows that schools which have such comprehensive policies in place have fewer incidences of disruption.

2. There is no single quick fix.

Metal detectors, zero tolerance policies, and other methods designed to address the problem are never effective singly. No single strategy keeps schools safe. The most effective programs are the ones that promote a safe school and can respond to violence in realistic ways.

3. Effective prevention requires ongoing planning and commitment.

There is no room, in today's schools, for complacency in maintaining safety. Effective programs require ongoing planning, commitment and collaboration among school staff, teachers, administrators, parents, and the community at large. (ibid).

Many advocates of school bullying prevention have developed programs that address the major concerns of the problem. Common to most of them are provisions for education of all children about bullying, its effects and what can be done to prevent it from happening. But as mentioned earlier in the paper, bullying is sometimes very subtle and difficult to detect. A student not invited to a party seems like a very minor occurrence, and that child is not likely to complain, nor is he/she likely to go to school administrators about it. And even if he/she did, administrators or teachers are not likely to take such small things seriously. Maybe someone is the subject of a rumor that is not flattering. Or someone is teased because he/she is short. The problem is two-fold: at what point does antisocial behavior become bullying? Does a single act constitute bullying, or does there have to be a pattern of such behavior?

Nearly all of the definitions of bullying include an attribute of repetition. Though it is not always the case (putting a short kid in a trashcan one time is still bullying), repetition is an important measure of the bullying intent. Repeatedly ignoring someone or spreading rumors about the person or repeated inappropriate teasing can, because it is repetitive, be considered bullying.

Beaty and Alexeyev describe a model intervention developed by Dillon and Lash. The first step in this model is a survey given to students at the school in which they identify which students bully and where they do it. From this survey, a plan of action can be developed which addresses these data. The plan of action should include training in social skills in order to help bullies, victims, and bystanders learn how to respond to the problem. In this scenario, bystanders have the most to gain; studies show that bystanders usually do not intervene because they either do not know what to do or because they are afraid of becoming victims themselves.

Another strategy recommended by the authors is for teachers to set aside time for discussions of bullying and the appropriate behavior expected. Students need to know what is expected and they need to learn how to make good choices. Students can be taught that it is appropriate to report incidences of bullying, and that they should do so. At the same time, schools should create an atmosphere in which reporting bullying will not result in retaliation or threat.

Bullying has been found to occur in schools where there is a lack of adult supervision during breaks, in which students and/or teachers are indifferent to bullying, or in which rules against bullying are not enforced. Single approaches like the ones mentioned above are not effective. When there is a school-wide commitment to end bullying, bullying can be reduced by half. The most effective approach, according to Beaty and Alexeyev, is one which focuses on changing school climate by raising awareness about bullying, increases teacher and parent involvement, has clear rules and expectations and strong social norms against bullying, and provides protection and support for all students.

The Safe and Responsive Schools Project of Indiana University has developed a model for preventing school violence. As people have begun to see what works and what does not with regard to school violence, they are finding consistently that programs that are proactive rather than reactive are much more effective at addressing the problem. They involve students, the school and community; they include multiple components that address the complexity of the problem. These kinds of programs have more data to support their effectiveness than do metal detectors or surveillance cameras. Comprehensive prevention is also less costly, and works much faster at deterring violence. In one study of one school with dropout rates of between 70 and 80 percent, consultants worked with teachers to reframe classroom rules to be more positive. In a single school year, suspensions decreased by 35%, and after three years, the school dropout rate was decreased by nearly 40%.

Feinberg suggests that effective programs are universal in prevention and reinforce positive ideals and reduce the possibility of violence for all students. The author believes that most successful programs are based on the work of Olweus, who uses a target of the context in which bullying occurs. Feinberg states that these kinds of programs reduce bullying by 50% and include school-wide universal interventions and a positive value system based on caring, mutual respect and personal responsibility. Discipline is positive, and there are clear expectations and consequences.

There are early interventions that teach positive behavior and critical thinking skills at the level of the classroom, along with intensive interventions that provide support for bullies and their victims throughout the process of resolving the dispute. These interventions include students, parents, and counselors. It is important to stop adult bullying immediately and teach students positive behaviors so that they can get their needs met in positive ways.

Conclusion/Recommendations

The purpose of this research was to highlight some of the history of school bullying, what is being done at present, and new measures designed to combat the problem as the crime it is in realistic and lasting ways that benefit everyone. Using journals, professional websites and other resources, this paper illuminated the efforts being made on behalf of both bullies, their victims, and those bystanders who are sometimes terrorized themselves and don't know what to do. As mentioned above, it is hoped that those reading it will initiate some change so that the reality of the violence perpetrated on our children will be understood in terms that are clear and unambiguous, and hoped that these changes lead to policy changes that can and will address the problem of bullying.

School bullying is a major problem in many of our schools. Once seen as a natural outgrowth of growing up, bullying is now being seen as a serious flaw in behavior that, if unchecked, can lead to disastrous consequences for both bully and victim. Research shows that unchecked bullying increases with age, and changes from physical abuse to the more subtle but still devastating psychological abuse. Victims of bullying are sometimes scarred for life. Some choose to end their lives as they are overwhelmed with shame and anger and grief. Some make the news; most do not. Those choosing to use electronic bullying (the internet, text messaging, etc.) can remain anonymous while the devastation is no less than when the perpetrator is known. Boys are more likely to bully both genders; girls predominately bully girls. Boys are much more likely to be physical; girls more relational in their abuse of their victims.

Many school staff and administrators are inadequately trained to deal with the problem and the consequences that follow. Many continue to look the other way when bullying is observed. Millions of students are abused in this way; most do not report the bullying for fear of retaliation, or in the belief that adults will not do anything about it anyway. Until recently, the courts have not been involved, and the legal picture was murky. Gradually, though, more and more district attorneys are taking up bullying cases as legislators hammer out legislation aimed at stopping bullying in the schools. Some believe that a get-tough approach works, and that suspending and expelling bullies is the answer. Yet research shows that these efforts are not successful and in fact contribute to the problem. Electronic solutions such as metal detectors or surveillance alone are not effective, either.

Programs have been developed which approach the problem from a proactive stance rather than a reactive one. Believing that no single solution can solve the problem, these approaches take a positive stance with all of the children while instituting clear expectations and consequences. A comprehensive approach with committed staff and administrators appears to be the key to stopping the trend of bullying. Instituting positive rules in the classroom is a good approach that seems to have positive benefits. Teachers taking time to talk about the problem with all students, while role-playing bullying scenarios has been shown to be effective in preventing minor problems from escalating into larger ones.

Olweus believes that bullying is context-specific, and must be addressed that way. He outlines several subgoals related to eliminating bullying from the schools, among them an awareness and knowledge of problems related to bullying, the debunking of bully-related myths, and getting teachers and parents actively involved in the schools, which means taking responsibility for what the students are doing at school. Teachers are encouraged to intervene in suspicious situations, and to relay clearly to the students that any act of bullying will not be tolerated. If a problem has been identified, teachers should take the initiative in having serious discussions with victims, bullies and their parents. Follow up should always occur to make sure that measures taken are being enforced.

Schools should develop clear rules against bullying. The rules can be a basis for classroom discussions about bullying and what negative consequences should be like for instances of bullying. It is important that teachers enforce the class rules and also praise students when they do follow the rules. Parents, as well, should be aware that this is being done in the schools so that measures can be followed up at home, reinforcing the message.

The Vermont Model lists several recommendations for developing anti-bullying programs. This program has been adopted by several states, and requires the State Education Commission in Vermont to develop and distribute a model plan for school discipline. Among its recommendations: 1) bullying is a violent, disrespectful, and dangerous behavior that cannot be tolerated, 2) parents should be able to file reports of suspected bullying, 3) students should be able to file anonymous reports of bullying,4) require teachers who witness bullying to report it to school administrators, 5) require all school administrators who become aware of bullying to investigate it, 6) include a school intervention plan that deals specifically with bullying, 7) prohibit school bullying in the school handbook, 8) require the school to notify parents of a suspected bully about possible responses and consequences, legal or otherwise, 8) require the school to notify parents of victims of actions taken, and 9) require the school to keep data on reported and verified bullying incidents and make this data available to the public.

Both of these models are similar, though the Vermont Model is more specific with regard to actions that should be taken. In both cases there is an appropriate emphasis on accountability, not just for the bully but for everyone. Though the bully is the guilty party, there are ramifications for everyone, and when everyone is not involved, the problem persists.

After reviewing the literature and examining the various programs and suggestions for 3solving the bullying problem, it is my belief that a working combination of the two models is the best approach to solving the issues of bullying. Context-specific actions developed from action plans based on the specific context of the school, along with proactive policies that address the problem humanely with safety as a goal for everyone is absolutely the best approach for solving the problem. The solution begins with the ways in which adults interact with children. Adults who are themselves bullies are poor role models for mediation and teaching that all individuals deserve respect and caring. These teachers need training in what bullying is, and should be held accountable for their actions just as identified bullies are. Other teachers should be trained to recognize bullying when they see it, recognize the warning signs in children when they are traumatized, and recognize the gaps in the supervision of children that lead to opportunities to bully. A comprehensive plan addresses all of these things, as well as school climate issues that also contribute to the problem. When the school culture is one in which bullying is not the social norm, the school climate reflects this, and children feel safe.

There are eight recommendations that I would make for policy changes that are realistic and fair to all involved. The first two involve the responsibilities of parents and children. The others address the responsibilities of the school.

1. When parents are aware that their children may be having difficulties with bullies, these parents should be able to make reports to school officials and have absolute certainty that the reports will be taken seriously and investigated.

2. Students who are being bullied and children who have witnessed bullying should be able to make reports to school officials and have confidence that these reports will be taken seriously and investigated.

3. Teachers who witness bullying should be required to make a report to administrators with the expectation that the report is confidential and will be taken seriously and investigated.

4. Administrators who become aware of specific instances of bullying should be required to investigate such claims and make a disposition according to an agreed-upon action plan spelled out in an intervention plan specifically developed for school bullying.

5. The school should be required to notify parents of a suspected bullying incident involving their child and any consequences attending such a bullying incident.

6. The school should be required to keep data on such incidents and his data should be available to anyone wishing to see it under an open records law.

7. The school should make every effort to create a climate in which children feel safe and can go to school officials with reports of bullying, whether victims or observers. The school climate should always be a positive one, with education on bullying and what can be done about it and opportunities to practice positive role-modeling.

8. Everyone in the school should be trained to recognize bullying and to intervene when it is necessary to do so.

School bullying will only be properly addressed when it is taken for what it is, a criminal act involving power and control and trauma to the victim. Though the perpetrators in almost all cases are children, this does not excuse their behavior. Bullying is a serious and dangerous behavior, and it is never engaged in accidentally. This puts the bully in the position of premeditation, and to treat it as less than a premeditated crime is to minimize the action and treat it less seriously than it deserves. Developing a plan of action based on the above recommendations is realistic and addresses the problem while preserving what is good about the schools and creating a place where quality education occurs in every classroom without fear of threat from anyone. The purpose, after all, of schooling is to help children learn about the world they live in and ways that they can make positive contributions to that world and become whole and happy adults with the knowledge to pursue careers that interest them. To the extent that bullying and classroom disruptions hinder this goal and purpose, the schools have failed to meet every child's need.

Bullying has been a part of schooling for a very long time. Though it was considered to be a test of maturity in children, the ramifications have been devastating to untold numbers of children the world over. One imagines the sense of a combat zone in which victims experience the horror of traumatic stress unimaginable. Phoebe Prince was a normal teenage girl when she moved to the United States. Her experiences at the hands of bullies in her school traumatized her so badly that she hanged herself rather than continue to go to school. No school in the world should evoke that much horror, nor should it ever be a place where one can experience such devastation that it lasts a lifetime. It is time to do something to correct what has been a nightmare for so many, and to make sure that any child entering school never again has to experience the trauma of school bullying.

References

Beaty, L. A. and Alexeyev, E.B. The problem of school bullies: what the research tells us.

Dillon, J. C., & Lash, R. M. Redefining and dealing with bullying. Momentum, 36(2), 36-37.

Dounay, J. State anti-bullying statutes. Denver, CO: Education Commission of the States.

Education.com. (.). Why is bullying an age-old problem?

Farrington, D. Understanding and preventing bullying. In M Tonry (ed.), Crime and Justice: A review of research, vol. 17 (pp.381-458). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Feinberg, T. (Bullying prevention and intervention. Principal Leadership Magazine.

Hampson, R. A watershed case in school bullying. USA Today.

Nansel, T.R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R.S., Ruan, W.J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. Bullying behaviors among us youth: prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment.

National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center. Bullying facts and statistics.

Olweus, D. O. Bully/victim problems among school children: Basic effects of a school-based intervention program. In D. Pepler & K. Rubin (Eds.), The development and treatment of childhood aggression (pp. 411-448). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Olweus, D. O. Bullying at school. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers.

Olweus, D. Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. Hazelden Foundation.

Rigby, K. New perspectives on bullying. London & Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley.

Safe and Responsive Schools. Is zero tolerance an effective response?

Smith, P.K. (.).Definition, types and prevalence of school bullying and violence. OECD.

Smith, P.K. & Sharp, S. (eds.). School bullying: Insights and perspectives. London: Routledge.

US Department of Health and Human Services. (.). State laws related to bullying among children and youth.
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