Bullying School Bullying and Academic Performance Feller Term Paper

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Feller (2003) defines SCHOOL BULLYING as "aggressive and repeated behavior based on an imbalance of power among people" adding that "it ranges from slapping, kicking and other physical abuse to verbal assaults to the new frontier: cyberbullying, in which kids use e-mail and Web sites to humiliate others." Feller details the pervasiveness and extent of bullying behavior in school and discloses data from a 2001 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development study suggesting that bullying in school begins in kindergarten, peaks in middle school, and affects approximately one-third of all students, amounting to millions of victims annually. In that regard, Feller also cautions that traditional attitudes toward school bullying are part of the problem in that many adults consider bullying to be a natural part of growing up that all students must simply learn to deal with.

According to Feller, that estimate does not include the student adversely affected by the fear of bullying of others that they witness, which is likely to result in harm to them despite not being victimized by bullies directly. Feller also suggests that the link between bullying and decreased academic performance is obvious by virtue of the extent to which victims of bullying suffer from acute symptoms of depression causing them to miss school out of their fear of bullying classmates.Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Bullying School Bullying and Academic Performance Feller Assignment

Feller corroborates those conclusions with the observations of educators like national safety consultant for school principals Bill Bond, who was principal of the Paducah, Kentucky school where a freshman victim of school bullying eventually reacted by shooting eight students including three fatally. According to Bond, the fear of violent intimidation and constant humiliation directly undermines the effort to perform well academically. That view is confirmed by students themselves. Feller presents specific statements to that effect from a 9th grade Connecticut victim of bullying who relates that "You can't think clearly. You're preoccupied trying to figure out why they would say this," and that "It can distract you from your school work, your community, even from your friends. It really does start to get to you."

Jonsson (2004) relates similar experiences detailing the abuse suffered by a 7th grade North Carolina student in school. Previously, he had been a straight a student and a recipient of the President's Award for academic achievement. After being regularly tormented by fellow students who punched him and subjected him to other forms of physically abusive conduct on a regular basis, his academic performance suffered dramatically and he became withdrawn, often refusing to talk about school at all at home.

That particular student's mother happened to sit on the local school board but eventually resigned in protest after her requests to remove her son from the class in which he suffered the abuse were denied, purportedly for academic reasons despite the fact that his lower performance was directly attributable to bullying in that class. In her argument leading up to her resignation, that student's mother specifically warned that her son "...can't learn anything if he's scared to death," and added that "Complacency is unacceptable," referring to the unwillingness of the school board to recognize or address the seriousness of the school bullying issue and its effects on academic performance among its victims.

Jonsson further explains that school bullying begins in kindergarten to an extent not generally appreciated. Specifically, a recent study conducted by a Wichita State University psychologist revealed that kindergarten students in one Kansas school studied bullied each other as frequently as once every six minutes. Jonsson also presents the conclusions of another psychologist, from the University of California, that school bullying victims tend to suffer in silence, making it more difficult to quantify the problem accurately.

Jonsson reports that experts estimate that there are nearly 4 million school bullies in the United States school system just in the 6th through 10th grades and that as many as 20% of their victims suffer significant long-term problems associated with their victimization, including decreased academic performance, violence, and even suicidal thoughts. Like Feller (2003), Jonsson suggests that even students not directly victimized by school bullying suffer real consequences such as fear of repercussion for intervening as well as shame from their inability to help victims whose abuse they witness in silence.


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