School Bullying (Part 2 of 5)
Bullying: Why are we concerned?
Research indicates that in addition to the negative effects suffered by the direct target bullies, witnesses to bullying develop a loss of their sense of security, which reduces learning. Studies also reveal that students who consciously avoid harm at school are expending energy that could otherwise be devoted to learning.
Other studies conclude that bullies themselves are also at risk of deficits in learning. Elementary students who perpetrated acts of bullying attended school less frequently and were more at risk of dropping out of school.
In addition, research reports that school bullying is a serious and chronic problem for schools.
In short, we are concerned because it is shown that bullying affects the overall mental health of youths exposed to it.
The Effects of Bullying:
A target or victim of school bullying can be expected to experience a variety of emotions: fear, anxiety, anger, frustration, helplessness, humiliation, loneliness, and feelings of isolation and persecution.
These emotions can be detected by the student’s sudden or ongoing illness, mood swings, withdrawal, inability to concentrate, loss of interest in school, argumentativeness, increased involvement in fights, change in friends and social groups, avoidance of lunch and recess areas, display of suspicious bruises and scratches, and frequent loss of money or property.
If left unattended, the targeted student may go on to develop attendance or discipline problems, fail at school, or even attempt suicide. The student may totally withdraw from family and friends and believe he/she is personally to blame for what has happened.The student may eventually begin to bully others or display other violent or retaliatory acts or may run away from home.
A student who has been the target of bullying and those who have witnessed a bullying incident often hesitate or fail to report it to anyone. Students do not report because they dread being perceived as tattletales by their peers, parents, or teachers.
They also believe adults will not understand the situation, will breach the confidence, or will not know how to handle the situation. Some targeted students may also believe they have done something to deserve the abuse.
Bullying can lead to criminal behavior later in life. Research shows that 60 percent of males who were bullies in grades six through nine were convicted of at least one crime as adults compared with 23 percent of males who did not bully. 35 to 40 percent of these former bullies had three or more convictions by age twenty-four compared with 10 percent of males who did not bully
On Wednesday, we’ll look at the bullying statistics.
Presentation prepared by ACS Executive Director, Dr. Philippe Rey