When the news features a bullied student and actions that include violence or suicide, the public becomes aware, at least briefly, of the problems of bullying in schools. Bullying involves negative, unwanted repeated acts, including verbal, physical, text messaging and through the Internet, according to the Olewus Bullying Prevention Program. The focus of the bullying includes threats, social isolation, discrimination based on religion, race, sexual orientation and other factors. The impact of bullying in schools results in issues beyond the students making headline news.
Other People Are Reading
The amount of bullying indicates the seriousness of the problem. In 2009, almost 20 per cent of a national sample of ninth to 12th grade students reported being the victim of bullying in the previous year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Five per cent of the students polled reported not attending school at least one of the previous 30 days due to concerns for their safety, and 5.6 per cent reported carrying a weapon to school during those 30 days. Almost 8 per cent reported receiving threats or injuries with a weapon, according to the CDC. In addition to more than 150,000 students missing school daily due to bullying, this sort of harassment contributed to many of the 250 deaths at schools since 1992, according to the University of Michigan Health Services.
Bullying may result in a student suffering from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and other problems, according to Matthew Davis, medical doctor and associate professor at University of Michigan Medical School. Depression affects students who receive cyber bullying at school more than other forms of bullying, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Bullying impacts the ability of students to learn effectively, according to Olewus. Students that receive the most bullying obtain lower grades than students who received less or no bullying, according to the University of California at Los Angeles. Bullying impacts a student's academic achievement, attendance and participation in class, according to Jaana Juvonen, UCLA professor of psychology.
Problems exist for the bully, not just the victim. According to Olewus, the behaviours of bullies may include fighting, theft, vandalising, alcohol use and lower grades. Female bullies often mask bullying with appropriate social behaviour, according to Olewus. Both bullies and the victims may suffer from depression. The problem continues into adulthood with bullies displaying an increased likelihood of criminal behaviours, according to Duane Alexander, director of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
Laws and Regulations
The U.S. Department of Education involvement in creating laws, studies, conferences and tools to help schools deal with bullying show evidence of the problem of bullying in schools. Steps to help schools deal with bullying involved the creation of the Inter-Agency Task Force on Bullying, according to the Department of Education. On local levels, states and school districts continue to develop and implement regulations and laws concerning bullying in schools.
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- University of Michigan Health System: Schools Failing When It Comes to Bullying, Violence Prevention
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Youth Violence
- Olewus Bullying Prevention Program: What is Bullying? Definition, Statistics & Information on Bullying
- University of California at Los Angeles: Victims of Bullying Suffer Academically
- National Institutes of Health: Depression High Among Youth Victims of School Cyber Bullying
- U.S. Department of Education: Guidance Targeting Harassment Outlines Local and Federal Responsibility
- MSNBS: Suicide Surge: Schools Confront Anti-Gay Bullying
- National Education Association: Bullying and School Safety Resources
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Stop Bullying Now! - Effects of Bullying
- Time: Bullying: Suicides Highlight a Schoolyard Problem
- FindYouthInfo.gov: Youth Topics: Bullying