Bullying School Term Paper

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Bullying

School bullying has been the focus of numerous studies over the last thirty years, not only within the United States, but internationally. While bullying in some form, whether teasing or pestering, has always existed within the school environment, it has only been during the last few decades that it has grabbed school and community attention. In 1982, when three teenaged boys in Norway committed suicide as a result of extreme harassment from classmates, the Ministry of Education launched a national campaign against bullying in which a prevention program was implemented in every primary and secondary school (Swearer). Other countries, including the United States, England, Italy, Canada, Japan, and Australia now recognize bullying as a serious concern (Swearer). Because definitions and measures used in studies vary tremendously, the exact prevalence of bullying is difficult to generate, however it is considered a large-scale problem with serious consequences.

In the June 22, 2003 issue of the School Psychology Review, author Susan M. Swearer notes that the most challenging aspect of bullying prevention programming is reaching a consensus on a definition of bullying (Swearer). However, most definitions of bullying include the idea that bullying includes "both physical and verbal aggression, which is a systematic, ongoing set of behavior instigated by an individual or a group of individuals who are attempting to gain power, prestige, or goods. Tactics might also be directed at the threat of withdrawal of a friendship" (Swearer). Other definitions commonly found in literature include:

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person is being bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other students (Swearer).

A student is being bullied or picked on when another student says nasty and unpleasant things to him or her. It is also bullying when a student is hit, kicked, threatened, locked inside a room, sent nasty notes, and when no ever talks to him (Swearer).

Bullying is longstanding violence, physical or mental, conducted by an individual or group and directed against an individual who is not able to defend himself in the actual situation (Swearer)

Term Paper on Bullying School Bullying Has Been the Focus Assignment

Thus, bullying is defined in the literature as a repeated behavior, including both verbal and physical behaviors, that occurs over time in a relationship characterized by an imbalance of strength and power, and given this imbalance of strength and power, it is difficult for the person being bullied to defend himself or herself (Swearer).

In one study of middle school and high school students from Midwestern towns, 88% reported having observed bullying, while 77% reported being a victim of bullying (Swearer). Moreover, 25% of children in grades 4 through 6 admitted to bullying another student with some regularity during the three months preceding the study (Swearer). A more recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which surveyed 15,586 students in grades 6 through 10 across the United States, found that a total of 29.9% of the sample reported frequent involvement in bullying, with 13% as a bully, 10.6% as a victim, and 6% as a bully-victim (Swearer).

Swearer notes that recent events in the United States raise some issues about the transportability of international findings to the culture of American schools. For example, the recent school shootings in the United States have resulted in many schools adopting a 'zero-tolerance' policy for aggressive behavior, including bullying (Swearer). Compulsory education mandates that students who are suspended or expelled receive a 'free and appropriate education,' thus these students return to school (Swearer). The U.S. has a history of legislative mandates that affect education for all students, and the federal government has influenced educational policies and practices (Swearer). In 2003, the Department of Health and Human Services launched a national bullying public awareness and prevention campaign (Swearer). Several state legislatures have passed laws related to bullying in an attempt to address the problem and inspire public awareness, however researchers caution that it is important not to cloud the issue by defining bullying in conjunction with other type of peer aggression, such as harassment or intimidation (Greif).

According to Jerry Young, December 22, 2003 issue of Adolescence, research indicates that School bullying has higher prevalence rates in the United States than in other countries. Males were found to be more involved in physical bullying, while females tend to use more covert forms, yet bullying and victimization have been associated with negative consequences in adulthood (Young). Moreover, both bullies and victims manifested higher levels of depression than did students who were neither victims nor bullies, and there were no significant differences between groups in terms of self-esteem (Young). Research suggests that the prevalence of bullying only appears to decline as students mature, and then it actually changes from aggressive forms to more passive, verbal forms (Young).

Common physical acts of bullying include: actions causing physical injury (hitting, punching, kicking, tripping); taking money, lunch, or homework; taking or damaging belongings of others; engaging in extortion; embarrassing by snapping the bra, lifting the skirt, pulling down pants (Vessey). Psychosocial/verbal manifestations include:

using insults, name calling, or threats; humiliating in front of peers; spreading rumors about the person or his/her family; shunning or excluding; slamming books; gesturing;

setting one person against another ("You can join but you have to drop them as your friends.") (Vessey). Bully by proxy occurs when one bully tells another person what to do to a victim, such as coercing them to steal from or bully a victim (Vessey). One new form of bullying is "online bullying," which can be extremely vicious because social inhibitions of face-to-face confrontation are eased allowing the bully to write things that they would never say to the victim's face, and then send it out for all to see (Vessey).

Bullying occurs anywhere there is an absence of adults, but the most common locations include to and from school, on the bus, in the cafeteria, in the halls, at the lockers, in the gym locker room, and on the playground (Vessey). While many bullies often come from homes where aggressive methods are used to deal with difficult situations, studies indicate that there is no difference in bullying behaviors based on geography or locale, race/ethnicity, or socio-economic status (Vessey). Other influences blamed for bullying include role models and violence on television and in movies, as well as those portrayed in videogames (Vessey).

Bullying occurs from a need of power and control which results in a feeling of dominance and an achieved status, if only in the eyes of the bully and those who watch and fear him or her (Vessey). However, bullying is a social activity, for rarely is it done on a one-to-one basis, but rather the bully often has a need to have a 'fan club' around him to share the success and boost his dominant position (Vassey). Studies indicate that bullies are 7 times more likely to carry a weapon to school than non-bullies, and 60% of boys who were bullies in grades 6-9 were convicted of at least one crime by the age of 24, and 40% had 3 or more convictions by the age of 24 (Vessey).

The victims are usually identified as being different from the other students, whether by height, stature, choice of clothes, mannerisms, beliefs, lack of coordination, disabilities, craniofacial abnormalities, or sexual orientation (Vessey). Victims are often the students who are disliked by the other students, or they are the ones who are neither liked nor disliked, as if they do not exist (Vessey). Victims often suffer psychological complications that include, sleep disturbances; psychosomatic complaints; irritability; increased frequency of illness and disease related to chronic stress; and regression to younger behaviors, such as enuresis, comfort habits, and nail biting (Vessey).

They may have impaired concentration, decreased academic performance, truancy from school, or absence from special school activities or certain classes. They may feel… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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