Term Paper: Bullying the Incidents of April

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[. . .] Girls are more likely to be victimized in this situation, though strict definitions of sexual harassment and bullying make no specific distinctions. Girls are far more likely than boys to feel "self-conscious" (44% to 19%), "embarrassed" (53% to 32%), and "less confident" (32% to 16%) because of an incident of harassment. Girls are also more likely than boys to change behaviors in school and at home because of the experience, including not talking as much in class (30% to 18%) and avoiding the person who harassed them (56% to 24%). (Fried and Fried, 1996). It is important to recognize that these curricula become standard fare in North American schools, educators and staff will have concrete strategies for creating a climate of respect where every person's dignity is honored.

To put this in perspective: A person is being bullied when he or she is the target, repeatedly and over time, of negative actions undertaken by one or several other individuals who are more powerful than the target in some way. Negative actions, which can begin with name calling, or social isolation and can build to actual attacks and/or attempts to injure or humiliate another person, include physical and verbal aggression, social alienation, intimidation, racial and ethnic harassment and sexual harassment. Bullying not only hurts the bully and the target, it also impacts the overall school climate and learning environment. Bullying is a form of repetitive and ongoing harassment, which crosses geographic, race and socio-economic segments of society.

Various Acts (Congress, 2002) have been passed which have made sensitivity training towards bullying. It is necessary to distinguish competitive physical injury, which are equal vs. abuse. Likewise, sexual harassment should be distinguished from flirting where both parties make equal overtures. The most important consideration is awareness. This is for the parties that are more likely to be involved in any form of bullying, including sexual harassment. Awareness includes understanding why bullying is detrimental to all parties concerned whereby an atmosphere of ill will and disconcertment is created. This awareness may be promoted by explore the links between teasing and bullying and other forms of aggressive and violent behavior. Educational practice and research will identify the various cause-and-effects of bullying. Examples of research might be in the fields of clinical psychology and/or sociology.

The next step is to identify and train leaders and overseers who might be called on to adjudicate in matters of sexual harassment. These include teachers, parents, members of the community and law enforcement. Their awareness of the various aspects of bullying is also paramount. These entities should be interlinked from the point-of-view of effective communication. Human resource officials in the adult work place should also be made aware of how to deal with situations of bullying -- emotional or otherwise. There are two specific projects: QuitIt (Hoover and Oliver, 1996) that specific target situations of school bullying.

Training personnel must also involve recognizing the signs of bullying and identifying real bullying or sexual harassment when it occurs. One of the best methods of course is to remove the power stature of the harasser. Since harassers feed of the weakness and subjugation of the victim, the victim might consider confronting the aggressor on a footing of equality making it clear that the behavior is unacceptable. Guidelines for appropriate behavior should also be established in schools where harassment-interaction is likely to take place.

Choosing Healthy Relationships is a program that addresses the many issues facing adolescents. It focuses on the at-risk population (for bullying), and their needs. The program involves identifying the backgrounds of victims and abusers. CHR avers that most of the problems in bullying stem from the lack of an adult relationship or confusion with what is a loving relationship. This pseudo-love takes the form from verbal and physical abuse to excessive pandering and petting. This program realizes that boys who witness family violence are more likely to batter their female partners as adults than boys raised in non-violent homes; girls who witness their mothers abuse, have a higher rate of being battered as adult women. (WCSMR.org, 2002) CHR ranges over twelve weeks covering the following topics::

Domestic Violence; Effects of Domestic Violence on Adolescents; Dating Violence; Healthy vs. Unhealthy Relationships; Personal Responsibility/Effective Communication in Conflict Resolution; Sexual Assault; Survivors of Sexual Assault/Coping Skills; Substance Abuse; Date Rape Drugs; Family Planning/STD's; Safety Planning; Healthy Role Models; and Community Connections/Outreach.

The bully can be recognized most clearly by looking at character traits rather than physical attributes. The bully values aggression for the rewards it brings. He or she lacks empathy for the target and tends to lack guilt, fully believing the target deserved the attack. A bully likes to dominate. Bullies often lack specific social skills such as seeing the point-of-view of other people, taking responsibility for their own actions, and accepting constructive criticism. Contrary to general belief, the bully is not insecure or anxious, and does not have low self-esteem.

Parents or significant role models of bullies often model aggression. At home, punishments may be harsh and/or abusive. If not aggressive themselves, families may be permissive and tolerant of the child's aggressive behavior or inconsistent and/or unable to set clear limits.

Since, this essay is about classroom bullying, the teacher naturally playa an important role in the dynamics of bullying. Many times bullying behavior takes place when no adult is around. However, when adults are present, bullying is often ignored. One national survey shows students' perceive that teachers or other adults in classrooms do not address bullying incidents. Most of the time teachers have not been trained to handle bullying or to participate in whole-school frameworks on school safety. The lack of specific tools as well as enduring cultural norms that treat bullying as "kids being kids" lends itself to a modest response by school personnel. Teachers can work with students at the classroom level to develop classroom rules against bullying. Many programs engage students in a series of formal role-playing exercises and related assignments that can teach the students other methods of interaction besides bullying. These programs can also show students how they can assist victims of bullying and how everyone can work together to create a school climate where bullying is not tolerated.

In addition to avoid being a bully oneself, the teacher has to be in tune with the developments of the class. In a sense, parents have the luxury of having to deal with heir own children -- whether they are bullies or targets. Teachers encounter both. They have to approach bullying armed with the knowledge that eventually both bullies and targets are hurt in the long run. Teachers should make the effort to know the parents and contact them if their children are participants (in any way). While this is more parental, teachers should assert and perhaps build on parenting that kids have to respect others. This should be a part of discussions on an ongoing basis. Corrective measures should be employed as much as possible. Teachers should help children to be assertive and express themselves clearly. This is especially true for victims of bullying. Children should be taught that bullies are less likely to intimidate children who are confident and resourceful. Teachers should take steps to immediately stop bullying when they see it. Teachers should also communicate clear policies and consequences. Bullying is less likely in schools where adults are involved and firm about stopping bullying behaviors. Send out a clear message at your school that bullying will have negative consequences. Teachers who are the first respondents should enlist the help of PTA or local mental health association to make sure that schools treat bullying as violence. A teacher's perspective is invaluable in developing programs to prevent bullying and promote safe school environments.

Without intervention, bullies establish patterns of antisocial thinking. They are unlikely to feel empathy toward others, and unlikely to recognize their own pain as well. Bullies have trouble expressing anger appropriately. They are frequently in need of disciplinary action for aggression, are more likely to commit other anti-social acts such as truancy, fighting, theft, intoxication, and vandalism, and drop out of school more frequently than their peers.

We have already identified that parents or teachers might be perpetrators of bullying in children because of lack of positive reinforcement or discipline of unusual acuity. This might have long terms consequences. Parents and care takers should also ensure that their wards are made aware of Avoid harsh or inconsistent discipline with your child; studies show that just encourages children to become bullies. They should intercede when bullying occurs instead of ignoring. They should openly discuss how to recognize bullying with special emphasis of the short- and long-term effects of being bullied and bullying. They should encourage a healthy respect for members of the opposite sex. More importantly, there should be a demonstration of care.

It is critical that bullying and sexual harassment should be reduced. No effort should be spared… [END OF PREVIEW]

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