What is School Bullying?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 May 2020
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As many adult survivors will testify, childhood is not always an easy thing to endure. One of the most difficult challenges a child can face is school bullying, the deliberate intimidation of weaker children by older or stronger children. A school bully is often a problem child with self-esteem and anger management issues who acts out through physical and mental assaults on those he or she perceives as victims or less likely to defend themselves.

School bullying is by no means a recent development. Many generations of children have experienced the wrath of a childhood bully, and for some of those victims the emotional scarring continues into adulthood. Some bullies work independently, while others seek strength in numbers as a gang. Certain neighborhood streets or sections of a school playground may "belong" to a gang of bullies, forcing other students to run an intimidating gauntlet or avoid the area entirely.

There are some child behavior experts who suggest that some school bullying is really a cry for help from the bully. The bully/victim relationship can be viewed as two sides of the same emotional coin, so to speak. While a victim of bullying or abuse may withdraw emotionally and physically, a bully essentially vents his or her frustrations on others. Both the victim and the bully may be experiencing abuse from siblings or parents at home, but one learns to cope by remaining passive, while the other learns to cope through aggression and anti-social behavior.

School bullying is a major problem which must be addressed by school administrators, teachers, parents and the students themselves. Some school bullies may need professional counseling in order to deal with the circumstances that trigger their outbursts and aggressive behavior towards other children and adults. Others may need to be monitored closely for signs of escalation, such as artwork or writings depicting violence and other disturbing subject matter.

If school bullying is not kept in check, the results can be disastrous. Many of the school shootings in recent years can be traced back to previous incidents of school bullyism. Either the victim of school bullies decides to seek revenge on those who have wronged him or her, or a student with an anti-social or bully mentality decides to escalate from fantasy forms of violence and bloodshed to the real event. In either scenario, early intervention could still help prevent incidents of school bullying from escalating into school tragedies.

On an individual level, parents who receive reports of school bullying from their children should take those concerns seriously and not dismiss them as part of a rite of passage or "boys will be boys." Some school bullies are fully capable of committing sexual assaults or smuggling real weapons onto school property, so any palpable threats against a child should be investigated by parents or school authorities before threats become actions. Reporting credible threats to law enforcement officers is also a way to counter serious incidents of school bullying.

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Post 5

If people are going to make such a big thing out of it, then call it like it is: harassment, a crime already on the books.

Post 4

@snowywinter- Kudos to you for your post. It is good to hear the opinion of someone that works for the school systems. Good job on the things that your school is doing!

Post 3

@cellmania & purplespark- I am a sixth grade school teacher and I have seen both sides of bullying. You both make great points. We had an extreme case of bullying that happened at the school that I work for which led to a very strict school bullying policy. We already had a policy in place but we, as educators, failed to enforce it in the capacity it should have been enforced.

We now have a system that seems to work well. We have cameras in the hallways. In addition, when the students are changing classes, the teachers take turns being a hall monitor on every hall. Doing this has brought the bullying to a minimum. We also have a teacher

outside as soon as school lets out to make sure that bullying isn’t taking place. As most of you probably know, there are also cameras on the school buses, as well.

I feel as though it is our responsibility, as employees of the school system, to make sure that children are safe when they walk through the doors of the school until they are returned home in the afternoon.

Post 2

@cellmania- Thanks for sharing that story. However, it is very hard, as a parent of a child that has been severely bullied, to consider or even care why the other child is doing it.

My child suffered two broken ribs when he was attacked by a bully at school. All of the other children stood around and watched without offering any help. The boy doing the bullying was relentless.

He was expelled from school and my son is doing better. I can understand your point but, as I said, being the mother of a child being bullied makes it hard to empathize with the person doing the bullying.

Post 1

Whereas most schools have a school bullying policy, the facts are that they can’t stop all of the bullying. My daughter was being bullied by a girl in her class. The girl would say hateful things to my daughter and occasionally punch her. She stole her pencils and would then lie to the teacher and say she didn’t. My daughter came home crying on several occasions.

I went to the principal and let him know what was going on. He scheduled a conference with my daughter and I and the girl was bullying and her mother. We all met and the other mother was not aware that her daughter was bullying others. However, the mother broke down, started crying

, and told us that her daughter had been abused for many years by her stepfather. She went on to tell us that she had just recently found out about the abuse and has a restraining order against her husband. She said that her daughter used to be the sweetest child.

I am telling this story to let everyone know that, even if a child is bullying, we need to look into why he or she started bullying. There could be a crucial underlying cause.

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