Bullying In Schools
Bullying is described as an act of violence, malice, or discrimination against a person due to several factors. In takes many forms, which can be categorized as verbal, indirect, non-verbal, physical, and cyber or electronic bullying. All this types of bullying have several core factors that link them together, which are determined by how the bullying affects the victim or perpetrator. These factors are physical and psychological torture on the victims or perpetrators since the effect on the person is dependent on the type of bullying being performed (Olweus 13). This paper will focus on how bullying affects the victims and perpetrators, statistics on this issue, current solutions, and people or organizations with the responsibility to tackle this vice.
According to psychologists, bullying is considered as being manifested in some psychological imbalance in either the victim or the bully. They believe that a victim either shows signs of weakness, or has qualities that are considered as a threat by the bully. In most cases, the former is the case as evidenced by the statistics indicating that in most instances, physical bullying cases in schools account for approximately 60% of the different types of bullies being perpetrated on the victims. Majority of these victims also have fewer friends who would serve to protect them when the bully strikes. Additionally, their weak personality usually results in the ease of cowering to demands or bully tactics being leveled on them. Weaknesses therefore, do not only lie in physical weakness, but also in their self-esteem and self-identity.
However, in other cases, the weakness could be on the bully. For instance, some individuals seek to be the most notable personalities in school and strive to ensure that all people are aware of their existence, their achievements, their looks, traits, among other personality identities. Therefore, this passion and zeal for recognition could drive them to seek being the only notable figures in the school and thus strive to eliminate other people that they consider as threatening this objective (Espelage and Swearer 156). Psychologists believe that a majority of the bullies have some form of psychological imbalance that causes them to bully others in a bid to feel strong, in control, or respected. In most cases, these bullies come from families that have some sort of domestic problem such as neglect, abuse, or poverty. Therefore, it is considered that bullying others could be a means for them to vent out their anger and frustration, without actually coming out and facing the problem.
Statistics, Causalities, and Effects of Bullying
Current statistics indicate that at least one in seven students in the united states is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying, while 56% of students have seen or being involved in some type of bullying. This shows that bullying is rampant in most schools in the US. Additionally, some of the effects of bullying are such as juvenile delinquency and school absenteeism and statistics indicate that at least 15% of students prefer not to go to school due to a fear of being bullied (Ross 314). This is a worrying statistic considering the massive resources that the government and schools are putting towards educating young children at what level of their education. Missing school not only has a psychological effect on the child, but also causes lower literate levels, juvenile tendencies due to too much free time, and poor social and interpersonal skill development as a result of being far from their peers.
Another causality of bullying is the psychological torture of the victims. Psychologists and school counselors have shown that bullying causes psychological imbalances in the victims that result in stress, depression and in some extreme cases PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). The latter is considered as too dire since its effects can last for a lifetime if the child does not receive treatment on time and in the right manner. These effects could result in the child developing self-esteem and self-identity issues that causes them to lack a passion to integrate adequately and properly into the societal spectrum.
A traumatic child could seek to channel their problems to other avenues that they consider as making them feel more superior, rather than weak as during their bullying sessions. For instance, law enforcement officials believe that a majority of the criminals convicted of such acts as rape, murder, shootings, or terror have been exposed to some form of traumatic event in their childhood (Dake, Price and Telljohann 175). Statistics further indicate that at least 60% of the prison population has been victims of some form of traumatic event in their lives. Therefore, bullying, if conducted forcefully and over a prolonged period could have the same traumatic effect as other traumas during the stages of child development.
Additionally, further statistics indicate that at least 45% of juveniles have been bullies, or victims of bullies. This shows that bullying has a negative effect on both persons. According to psychologists, a bully can become overwhelmed with feeling in control and could slowly develop their behaviors from simple harassments to engaging in criminal behavior such as rape, theft, or murder (Mishna 342). This development could also endear them to integrate themselves into gangs, which they believe makes them feel superior and allows them to indulge in their bully activities, but on a much larger and sophisticated scale.
Types of Bullying
As earlier mentioned physical bullying is considered as the main type of bullying and involves physical violence being performed on the victim. Verbal bullying could be a form of abuse, discrimination, or disrespect on the person being bullied. Concurrently, non verbal bullying takes on several forms such as sneering at a person, neglect, indirect gossiping, exclusion from social groups, subject of malice or rumors, sending text, video, or audio messages depicting a person in a certain prejudicial fashion, among others. Finally, cyber bullying involves the use of electronic media to perpetrate the bully tactics. It takes the forms of sending abusive emails and texts, making phone calls, posting or sending videos, audios and pictures either online or through other social media tools, among others.
Possible Solutions to Curb Bullying in Schools
One of the best, notable, and most utilized solutions for preventing an increase of bullying in schools is for the teachers to become more involved in students welfare, and seek to find ways and means that students are being affected negatively socially, academically, technologically, economically, or culturally (Craig & Pepler 92). This mechanism is useful since it ensures that the teacher can identify students that seem disoriented, disinterested in school, or lacking the machismo or drive that children have. From this perspective, the teacher can seek an audience with the student, or their parents to find out a possible issue affecting the child. Such a system is effective since it not only allows the teacher to identify victims of bullying, but also allows them to root out and punish the bully. Early identification of the bully problem allows them to change their approach to treating these students either through counseling, through transfer to another class or school, and creating social support networks and tools for the bully and victim to use to change their behaviors.
Another strategy that can be used is to increase the number of school counselors to ensure that each school has access to a school counselor. Additionally, this strategy should be closely followed with offering regular training to the school counselor. To achieve this strategy, it would require the involvement of both the school and the local, state, and federal governments (Heinrichs 201). Either the governments would be engaged in the provision of funds for hiring new counselors to be posted in the schools, or they could be involved in the process of creating laws that mandate all schools to have a school counselor. The school administration could be involved in the provision of offices for the counselors, funds for paying them, and funds for their education and training to serve the students more efficiently.
Another strategy that could be used would be creation of social and educational programs that seek to enhance accountability among the students, as well as a sense of support for each other. Accountability among the students would endear them to report cases of bullying in their school or classes to authoritative figures that could then take action on the bully and counseling on the victim. Secondly, the program would educate the children on the different forms of bullying, the steps that can be taken to identify them, how to tackle, and mechanisms for avoiding being bullied. This would ensure that the actions of bullies are countered at an early stage to ensure that the bully’s actions do not have a profound effect on the victim. Curbing their behavior early prevents the victim from suffering the adverse actions and reactions to bullying and results in their leading a long and successful life.
Finally, the school administration could create a punishment structure that ensures that the bully’s actions are severely countered and dealt with. This would seek to ensure that the bully become fearful of performing their activities due to the adverse action and reaction by the authoritative figures or systems (Fairholm and Mader 245). For instance, some schools have enacted laws or rules that curb bullying by forcefully suspending the perpetrator once found guilty. This strategy is mainly found in private schools that are hard for an individual to gain admission. It ensures that the students adhere to a strict code of conduct that forces them to act and behave in the manner that the school has proposed. While some critiques have labeled this strategy as being too dictatorial, its success at curbing bullying in schools has been profound. Therefore, in conclusion, bullying is an issue that affects most learning institutions and takes on many forms. Their effects are dire not only on the victim, but also on the bully. Therefore, it is paramount that authorities take stern actions to curb its spread before any problems can occur on either the victim, or the bully.
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