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Bullying in Middle Schools. Why Middle School Students Bully and How to Deal With It. LaToya Bennett Joshua D. Kershaw Magnet IB Librarian Community Meeting February 17, 2009. Definition of Bullying.

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bullying in middle schools

Bullying in Middle Schools

Why Middle School Students Bully and How to Deal With It

LaToya Bennett

Joshua D. Kershaw Magnet

IB Librarian Community Meeting

February 17, 2009

definition of bullying
Definition of Bullying
  • "Bullying is the willful, conscious desire to hurt another and put him/her under stress" (Tattum & Tattum, 1992).
  • “Repeated oppression, psychological or physical, of a less powerful person by a more powerful person” -David Farrington (1993)
  • Bullying includes both physical and psychological means.
    • A physical blow, an insult or offensive gesture, spreading rumors, social manipulation or exclusion.
  • Bullying is behavior intended to hurt and is typically repeated over time.
  • Bullying occurs when there is an imbalance of power
    • can be physical size or a sharper tongue.
  • Bullying involves a desire to hurt + hurtful action + a power imbalance + (typically) repetition + an unjust use of power + evident enjoyment by the aggressor and a sense of being oppressed on the part of the victim.
background story about bullying
Background Story about Bullying
  • “Tiny, jagged hunks of mortar were being hurled at me from all sides. My hands over my face, I tried to run home, but the assault was too relentless. ‘Please stop,’ I pleaded. My knuckles and wrists were swollen and bloody. Red welts covered my skin. I didn’t know what was worse, the physical or emotional agony” (Please Stop Laughing at Me).
    • Jodee Blanco’s account of the assault she suffered at the hands of her classmates. These types of attacks occurred from fifth grade to her senior year of high school.
    • Blanco wrote a book depicting her ordeal, Please Stop Laughing at Me, published in 2003.
the bully never remembers and the victim never forgets
“The bully never remembers and the victim never forgets”
  • Blanco’s sequel, Please Stop Laughing at Us, was written to assist educators’ and parents how to help children with bullies.
  • “That’s when I learned firsthand the meaning of the term of the domino effect. Once I started refusing to conform to the whims and demands of the cool crowd, everything tumbled in on me. The friendships that had pulled me out of a lonely place and had given me a new lease on life began to disintegrate.”-Jodee Blanco
  • Resources recommended by Jodee Blanco to help troubled teens include the National Crime Prevention Council, Kidspeace National Center for Kids Overcoming Crisis, and the National Suicide Prevention Hotline 
data about the prevalence of bullying in middle school
Data about the Prevalence of Bullying in Middle School
  • How common is Bullying?
    • Survey of 15,000 students in grades 6-10 indicates 11 percent of American students were bullied frequently
    • 13 percent bullied others frequently
    • This means over 5 million students are bullied frequently
    • Over 6 million more bully frequently (2002 American Medical Association)
  • Bullying is now the most common form of violence in our society (National Association of School Psychologist, 2002)
bullying and gender
Bullying and Gender
  • Boys are more likely than girls to bully others (Nansel et al., 2001; Banks 1997).
  • Verbal bullying is the most frequent form of bullying experienced by both boys and girls.
  • Boys are more likely to be physically bullied by their peers (Olweus, 1993; Nansel et al., 2001)
  • Girls are more likely to report being targets of rumor spreading and sexual comments (Nansel et al.,2001).
  • Girls are more more likely to bully each other using social exclusion (Olweus, 2002).
the effects of bullying
The Effects of Bullying
  • Long lasting consequences for the victims
  • Increased rates of childhood depression, suicide, aggression, and lower academic behavior
  • More likely to be lonely and have difficulty making friends
  • Some respond by finding an escape
    • Not attending social events
    • Smoking
    • Drinking
    • Missing school
    • One (1) out of every 20 students in public school report that they stayed home in the previous 30 days because of safety issues. It has been estimated that as many as 163,000 students in schools in the U.S. stay home each day because of fear of being a victim of bullying.
effects of bullying
Effects of Bullying
  • The consequences for the aggressor are great as well
  • Children who bully have an 1 in 4 chance of ending up with a criminal record, be convicted of serious crimes, and more abusive to their wives and children. (Ross, 1996)
  • More likely to be involved in self-destructive behaviors such as
    • Stealing
    • Cheating
    • Vandalism
    • Conflicts with police
    • Fighting
    • Skipping School
    • Use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs (Dake, Price and Telljohann, 2003)
consequences for school and community
Consequences for School and Community
  • Recent research suggest there is a positive relationship with bullying and violent physical assaults, including School shootings
  • Bullying is a potentially strong motivator for a student who commits a school shooting
    • Shooters at Columbine were seen as “uncool” and were picked on
    • Shooter at Virginia Tech also said he never felt like he fitted in with the “cool” crowd
why do students bully self esteem
Why Do Students Bully? (Self-esteem)
  • Acts of aggression are actually related to exaggerated high self-esteem
  • Aggressive children may actually have both high and low self esteem
  • Exaggerated self-esteem was more strongly related to aggression in boys than in girls
  • Students may actually have low-self esteem and low feelings of self-worth, but it is translated into “high self-esteem” that leads to aggression towards other children
why do students bully self esteem1
Why Do Students Bully? (Self-esteem)
  • High levels of defensive, but not secure self-esteem lead to aggressive behavior
  • Original assumption: Low self-esteem leads to aggressive behavior in school/bullying
  • Aggressive children score lower on implicit self-esteem evaluations than on explicit self-esteem evaluations
  • Attributes used to study implicit self-esteem are automatic and reflexive behaviors while explicit self-esteem is a conscious view of the self
  • Children with higher levels of explicit self-esteem engaged in higher levels of aggressive behavior only when their implicit self-esteem was low
why do students bully self esteem2
Why Do Students Bully? (Self-esteem)
  • Misconceptions about Bullies and High Self-esteem
  • Bullies are only seen as having high-self esteem because they may exhibit behavior such as arrogance and narcissism
  • Individuals with secure high self-esteem do not bully, but rather they have positive interactions with peers
  • Bullies have negative relationships with peers because of low self-esteem and emotional immaturity
why do students bully
Why Do Students Bully?
  • It is often suggested that bullying behavior has its origin in childhood:

"If aggressive behaviour is not challenged in childhood, there is a danger that it may become habitual. Indeed, there is research evidence, to indicate that bullying during childhood puts children at risk of criminal behaviour and domestic violence in adulthood." (http://www.abc.tcd.ie/)

  • Research indicates that children with disabilities or special needs may be at a higher risk of being bullied than other children (see Rigby, 2002, for review).
why do students bully1
Why Do Students Bully?
  • Research shows that bullying can be a sign of other serious antisocial or violent behavior. Children and youth who frequently bully their peers are more likely than others to get into frequent fights, be injured in a fight, vandalize or steal property, drink alcohol, smoke, be truant from school, drop out of school, and carry a weapon (Nansel et al., 2003; Olweus, 1993).
  • Researchers have identified other characteristics such as quickness to anger and use of force, addiction to aggressive behaviors, mistaking others' actions as hostile, concern with preserving self image, and engaging in obsessive or rigid actions
why do students bully2
Why Do Students Bully?
  • Other factors in wider society include violence portrayed on cinema screens and on television. Research suggests that children who constantly view violence on TV and video develop more aggressive tendencies and less empathy with victims of aggression. This is especially true of children who experience violence in their home and their neighborhood as part and parcel of their daily lives.
why do students bully3
Why Do Students Bully?
  • There are many reasons why people bully others; whether occasional or often, it happens more often than some may think.
  • Social factors which contribute to bullying:
    • Seeing others doing it
    • Wanting to get “in” with the right crowd, gain respect
    • It conjures up emotions such as feeling stronger, smarter, or better than the person that is being bullied
    • To make others afraid of them
    • Some bullies don’t understand what it means to bully and be bullied
why do students bully4
Why Do Students Bully?
  • Factors within the school (educators):
  • Inconsistent and inflexible rules
  • Poor staff morale
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Punishment that is too harsh, abusive or humiliating
  • Few incentives and rewards for non-aggressive behavior
  • Curriculum that affords few feelings of success and achievement
why do students bully5
Why Do Students Bully?
  • Factors within the home are:
  • Lack of love and care
  • Too much freedom
  • Inconsistent discipline
  • Permissive management of aggressive behavior
  • Violent emotional outbursts on part of adults
  • Excessive physical punishment
  • Cruelty
tips for educators to help reduce bullying
Tips for Educators to Help Reduce Bullying
  • Ensure that your anti-bullying policy is effectively implemented
  • Create a whole-school ethos such that bullying is regarded unambiguously as unacceptable behavior.
  • Take a proactive approach to bullying, not a reactive one which will be too late.
  • Do you know how much bullying there is in your school? Have you undertaken any surveys?
  • Ensure that the school climate is one of inclusion and support
  • Ensure that all children understand what bullying is, and where and why it takes place.
  • Empower pupils to take action to stop bullying.
  • Teach assertiveness.
  • Learn about the myths and misperceptions about bullying (http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/myths.htm)

Source: http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/tackle.htm

tips for kids on bullying
Tips for Kids On Bullying

What not to do if you are bullied:

  • Think it’s your fault, no one deserves to be bullied
  • Fight back or bully back
  • Keep it to yourself, tell an adult when you are being bullied
  • Skip school or avoid social settings because you are afraid
  • Think that you are a “tattle tale”
  • Hurt yourself

Source: http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/index.asp?area=main

lessons learned from previous efforts to implement a bullying prevention program
Lessons Learned from Previous Efforts to Implement a Bullying Prevention Program
  • Schools that did the most achieved the most success.
  • It is difficult at this point to identify crucial elements in anti-bullying programs which are most effective, but most programs have resulted in at least some success.
  • Leadership by the principal and administrative commitment are critical to the success of a bully reduction program
  • Create a climate that discourages bullying and encourages peer processes that support and include vulnerable children.
  • Only with sustained consistent effort (at least two years of intervention) is the incidence of bullying and related behaviors likely to be reduced.
  • Anti-bullying cannot be separated from the core tasks of effective teaching.
  • There is a greater likelihood of success when starting the program in younger grades.
  • There are no “magic bullets” nor “quick fixes”. A successful anti-bullying program is ongoing, rather than a one-time only program.

Source: http://teachsafeschools.org/Bully.pdf

how to intervene in bullying incidents
How to Intervene in Bullying Incidents
  • Go public with the data-what you see and hear
  • Extend an invitation to elicit more information
  • Label behavior as a form of bullying and indicate that such behaviors are not tolerated in school
  • Convey expectations
  • Encourage students to behave differently
  • Speak to each offender and victim separately to find out what occurred (get the facts)
  • Have the student propose an alternative response for future situations
  • Assign consequences as you would in any other situation
  • Ask victim what it will take to feel safe again
  • Record the bullying incident

Source: http://www.teachsafeschools.org/bully_menu5.html#5c1

helpful websites for parents educators on bullying
Helpful Websites for Parents/Educators on Bullying
  • www.bullyonline.org
    • This website includes information for students, parents and educators about myths, actions to tackle bullying, and information about different types of bullying.
  • www.teachsafeschools.org
    • This website includes information for educators about aggression, classroom management, high-risk students, creating a climate for learning and mentoring programs among many other topics.
  • http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/index.asp?area=main
    • This website includes information for kids, parents, and educators about aggression, classroom management, high-risk students, creating a climate for learning and mentoring programs, games and videos for kids, among many other topics.
  • Blanco, J. (2003). Please Stop Laughing at Me. Avon, MA: Adams Media.
  • Diamantopoulou, Sofia, Ann-Margret Rydell & LisbethHenricsson. Can Both Low and High Self-esteem Be Related to Aggression in Children? Social Development, 17,682-698.
  • Field, T. (2005). Child bullying, school bullying, bullycide. Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Bully online Web site: http://www.bullyonline.org/schoolbully/tackle.htm
  • Olweus, D. (1993) Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell.
  • O’Moore, M. Introduction. Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Anti-Bullying Centre Web site: http://www.abc.tcd.ie
  • Sandstrom, Marlene J. & Rachel Jordan (2007). Defensive self-esteem and aggression in childhood. Journal of Research in Personality,42,506-514.
  • Tattum, D and Tattum, E. (1992) Social Education and Personal Development. London,: David Fulton.
  • Telecom & New Zealand Police. Bullying Information. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from No Bully Web site: http://www.nobully.org.nz/advicek.htm
references continued
References continued
  • The Melissa Institute for Violence Prevention and Treatment, Retrieved November 16, 2008, from Teach Safe Schools.org Web site: http://teachsafeschools.org/index.html
  • Stop bullying now! Take A Stand. Lend A Hand. Stop Bullying Now! Campaign Retrieved November 16, 2008, from HRSA http://stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov/index.asp?area=main
  • What is bullying? Defining bullying: a new look at an old concept . Retrieved November 16, 2008, from University of South Australia Web site: http://www.education.unisa.edu.au/bullying/define.html