August 21, 2018
I found one day in school a boy of medium size ill-treating a smaller boy. I expostulated, but he replied: “‘The bigs hit me, so I hit the babies; that’s fair.”’ In these words he epitomized the history of the human race.
I just want the bullying to stop. That is all I ever wanted. I used to love going to school. Now I hate it. Danny H., 5th grade
Accepting bullying as an inevitable part of childhood is no longer tolerated. The customary responses, “Boy’s will be boys,” and, “That’s the way girls are,” are outdated and ignore research which has shown the long-term negative impact bullying has on not only the bullied child, but also on the bully and those who witness bullying. Ongoing bullying leads to low self-esteem, criminal activity, domestic violence, suicide, and other self-destructive behaviors as well as distrust in the ability of authority to create and maintain a safe educational environment. (Nansel, 2001). It is for these reasons that al the states in America have recognized the need to address bullying and have passed laws that require schools to address bullying.
While scientific evidence clearly backs up the need to address bullying, we do not don’t need research to tell us that children are hurt by bullying. As educators, we have seen how bullying hurts children, robs them of relationships, and damages self-esteem.
We believe the issue of bullying should be addressed in a proactive fashion. To that end, we have designed fun and interactive activities which proactively teach behaviors that are expected in and out of school, including how to stand up to a bully and how to stop another student from bullying.
In most bullying situations, there are three groups represented: the bully, the targeted student, and the bystanders. While bullies set the bullying dynamic in motion, it is the actions of the targeted student and the bystanders that determine whether the bullying is going to continue.
From the bully’s perspective, bullying serves a function. Bullying either gets them something, helps them to avoid something, or is the only way the bully knows how to get a need met. Students who bully others to get their needs met need tomust learn new behaviors—replacement behaviors—which get their needs met without hurting others. If children who bully do not learn replacement behaviors they will continue their abusive style as they grow into adulthood. (Sarazen, 2002). When bullying students begin to date, bullying behavior often morphs into dating violence. (Kendall-Tackett, 2005). Further on, as the child becomes an adult, bullying behaviors and relationship violence are defined as domestic abuse. This behavior can also show up on the job as workplace harassment. (Alberts, 2007).
Targets of bullying can go through a similar evolution. If a person who is chronically victimized doesn’t learn to change how they respond to bullying behavior, they will continue to be targeted by bullies well into adulthood. For targets, replacement behaviors include learning how to limit their vulnerability to bullies by standing up to bullies in a non-violent, yet assertive manner and by increasing their friendship network.
In spite of Bertrand Russell’s quote, most students are not regular bullies or chronically targeted. Most students are bystanders—people who see, hear, or know about bullying. In one study, 95% of students reported witnessing verbal bullying, 68% witnessed physical bullying, and 48% of the secondary school students reported having witnessed physical sexual coercion. (Rigby, n.d.). Research has also shown that although bystanders sometimes speak out to discourage bullying, the most common response is to ignore what is going on—and the bullying simply continues. (Bender, 2007). Students have to know how their school expects them to respond when they see bullying. It is the responsibility of school staff to teach all of our students how to fulfill those expectations in a manner that is responsible, yet acceptable to student culture.
Behaviors which perpetuate bullying need to be replaced with behaviors that are respectful, cooperative, compassionate and empowering. The lessons and activities in this book will help accomplish this goal in a fun, interactive manner that also meets state curriculum guidelines. This book can help.
Excert from: How to Stop Bullying and Social Aggression