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Bullying At School: Causes, Effects and Implications

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Education
Wordcount: 3934 words Published: 23rd May 2017

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School Bullying has evolved into a worldwide phenomenon that has received very little or no attention at all. In recent years, it has garnered global attention and, although studies have concentrated on the view point from the victim’s perspective, recent studies are geared towards studying bullying from a social and cultural view. Bullying is defined as a methodical way of demoralizing a person or a group of people who may seem inferior to a potential bully or group of bullies due to many different factors such as race, gender, intellectual ability or just a way to feel better about themselves. Throughout this paper, we will look at the many different areas that have been identified as critical functions in remedying an age old problem that has been a staple in schools across the entire world for many years.

Contributing Factors and Family Types

Now we have to have a good understanding of some of the contributing factors

that makes up the components of the bully, the bullied and the bystander. Although bullying is

a learned behavior, a major contributing factor is derived from what is learned in the home.

Studies have shown that there three types of families that contribute to bullies. The first one

dubbed “The Brick Wall” family demonstrates the belief that power equals control. This type of

environment proves to be a great training ground for a potential bully. Various factors figure into

the equation like one parent demonstrates absolute authority, rigid enforcement of rules by use of

threats or imagined violence, use of humiliation and being taught “What to think, Not how to

think” (Barbara, Colorosa).

The second type of family commonly referred to as “The Jellyfish Family” tend to

promote the virtues of a child to become a bully, a vulnerable target or bystander by not setting

boundaries and structure for children, the parent physically and psychologically abandons the

children and second chances are routinely given. The last family “The Backbone Family” is

not demanding at all. They do not demand respect; they model and teach it, rules are clear

and simply stated and mistakes are viewed as chances to learn. Clearly, family has a decisive

advantage in determining a child’s course, but society has become a greater teacher than any

home can be due to all the advances in technology such as the internet, cell phones, and peer pressure and the lack of parents being home due to dual income families being needed more now during the current recession going on in America today (Barbara, Colorosa).

Seven Types of Bullies

Briefly we have looked at contributing factors to bullies, but we will take a glance at the

several different types of bullies. The Confident Bully often has a hefty ego and sense of

dominance; The Social Bully is resentful of the optimistic traits of others; The Fully Armored

Bully is calm and isolated; The Hyperactive Bully has trouble making friends; The Bullied

Bully is bullied by adults or older kids; The Bunch of Bullies usually perceived as nice kids and

last, but not least the Gang of Bullies is a group drawn together in pursuit of control, ascendancy

and total absolution of power (Barbara, Colorosa). All have different agendas, but they all use

the three basics fundamentals of bullying; verbal, physical, and relational. Verbal bullying

accounts for 70% of all reported bullying for mainly two reasons (Barbara, Colorosa); It is easy

to get away with and if it is accepted by the majority, it degrades the intended target. Physical

bullying is actually only responsible for one-thirds of all reported incidents and the bully whom

actually results to this form is more likely to move onto more serious criminal offenses in the

future. Racial bullying is an area that we have not ventured into; however it is prevalent taking

place in climates where differences are deemed as bad and where common bonds are not


The Victim or the Bullied

The Victim or Bullied can become a target for bullying due to a variety of factors. This

can be due to the victim being the new kid on the block, the kid who is smaller and younger in a

new school, being submissive, gifted or talented, physical or mental disabilities or simply being

in the wrong place at the wrong time (Barbara, Colorosa). In any case the bullied child becomes

isolated from their peers and develops survival strategies rather than social skills. Bullies are

often successful due to the fact they are ashamed, afraid of retaliation, they don’t believe anyone

can or wants to help and society has led people to believing “ratting” is not acceptable. Even

though secrecy is a another significant factor to a bully’s success, a child who is the victim of

bullying will display warning signs and adults whether a teacher or parent must be mindful in

observation of the warning signs. Children speak through their body language, facial

expressions, eyes, words and the tone of voice when asked certain questions (Barbara, Colorosa).

When children display a certain abrupt disinterest in school or refuses to go, is hungry after

school, claims to have lost lunch money, stops talking about everyday activities and peers or

completely does something out of their normal character, it can be an indicator there may be a

problem. In today’s society, most of the above mentioned clues almost describes a majority of

kids today especially teenagers, but as we will visit later knowing your children and establishing

an open line of communication can be vital in ensuring your children chances of being a victim

of bullying are minimized.

Education of children will help in reducing the potential of a child becoming a bullying

victim. It is imperative that children are taught how to react when they are placed in a situation

dealing with a bully or a group of bullies; Assurance is a key instrument, letting a child know

that they are not alone; affirm that it is not their fault; establish that there are measures that you

as a parent can take and immediately inform school personnel of the bullying issues or concerns.

Just as easy as you can reassure your children of all the measures that can be

implemented, equal caution must be exercised as not to hinder a child’s capability to resolve

some issues on their own so as not to be shunned by the other children as an individual

who cannot function without their parent’s direct involvement. Justification of a bully’s action

can be detrimental to your relationship or trust previously established; educate your child, but let

they figure out the best way to exist amongst their peers; avoidance should not be a course of

action and by all means violence should only be used if they are in imminent danger by the bully

or group of bullies. The next group we will explore is the “Bystander (s)” who more than often

not are just caught in the middle and basically are glad that the bully is not targeting them.

Bystander (s) tend to think that intervention will cause greater suffering, they simply do not

know what actions to take, don’t want to become the focal point of the bully or they don’t want

to get hurt themselves. The victims of bullying have been identified as suffering from various

health problems, including diminished levels of psychological well-being, poor social

adjustment, psychological distress and physical symptoms (Rigby, 1996, 2003). Victims have a

wide range of issues such as social isolation, truancy, suicidal tendencies and depression. Also,

experiencing peer harassment has been linked to depression, loneliness and social isolation.

Victims often exhibit low self-esteem, have fewer friendships, school absences and even suicide.

Relational bullying has also been related to rejection of peers, loneliness, isolation, depression and social anxiety all proved to be directly related to future psychological difficulties, according to Jacobsen, Kristen.

The Bystander (s)

Bystander (s) abilities or lack thereof, contribute to their fears and the lack of skills to

cope with the issues leads to apathy and due to the fact that Bystander (s) witness first hand

bullying tactics, they are apt to becoming bullies themselves. Bystander (s) rationalize why they

do not take actions when they observe a bully targeting a child or a group of children; they are

friends with bully, it’s not my problem, he/she is a loser or the fact that they don’t want to be

labeled as a snitch. Another aspect of bystander (s) perpetuating bully tendencies is through

the spreading of rumors. Rumors are easy to start, spread and in lament terms “hard to confirm

or deny” and children are not concerned with facts, they believe what everyone else does.

Their ability to decipher the truth whether they want to or not is the real issue; simply they just

want to fit in regardless of the truth, thus indirectly they are assisting the bully in tormenting the

targeted child or children. Three factors that will empower bystander (s) is the ability to

recognize, refuse and report are the steps they will need to be taught in order to not help in the

bullying process.

Social Experience and School Bullying

Social Experience and School Bullying studies have shown that these problems extend

well beyond the school and that children are exposed to dangerous situations in their own

neighbor hoods on a daily basis. These experiences within the very communities that they live in

undermine relationships between students and their teachers and bring to light that intervention

needs to be extended to the broader community and neighborhood. A vast majority of studies

have concentrated on the psychological profiles of bullies and their victims. According to these

reports, bullies tend to assume a dominant role in interpersonal relationships and display lack of

empathy. They are reported as displaying high self-esteem but also egotistic defensive traits

(Salmivalli, Kaukiainen, Kaistaniemi, & Lagerpetz, 1999; Smith, 2004). Studies also suggests

that like other aggressive individuals, bullies attribute hostile intentions to the people with whom

they are interacting and that they are incapable of resolving conflicts without resorting to

acts of violence (Crick & Dodge, 1999; Dodge, Bates & Pettis) .

Classroom Management, Bullying and Teacher Practices

Teacher’s play a vital role in the school environment; the enforcement of school policies

and ethos and the social interactions within the classroom. The absence of an adult (s) presence

often contributes to bullies and their objectives. Studies have revealed that some teachers just

don’t observe the deviant behavior or they simply do not know how to handle the situation

involving bullies. Some cases have illustrated that training is sorely needed in order to help in the

ever growing epidemic. In some cases, teacher’s have intervened in physical bullying cases, but

they acknowledge that the aspect of identifying relational bullying is hard to identify. Now

teachers and counselors have different roles in the school, but they are inter-related on so many

levels. Teachers are primarily educators and have limited experience in counseling, thus enter

the counselor. The counselor primary role is to ensure the students success academically, career

and socially. Due to the fact that the counselor works with the entire school population, they will

have a better understanding on some of the underlying issues that the teacher just may not have

time to observe. Teachers can prove to be a valuable asset in the fight against bullies, but

training is still required to enhance the readiness of all school staff and administrators.

For the most experienced to the novice of all teachers, teaching in today’s society has

become more challenging than ever. It requires the ability to adapt to new and constant changing

demands. Although the issue is not new, a new light was shed on the issue during the Columbine

High School shooting in April, 1999 (Vossekuil, Fein, Reddy, Borum, & Modzeleski, 2002).

In recent years, research has implicated teasing, harassment, and bullying in a number of

targeted schools shootings that have taken place in the United States, according to (Kathleen P.

Allen). Now in recent years, newer teachers in the profession stated they have felt unprepared for

today’s classroom management skills when it comes to managing administrative tasks,

curriculum and behavior issues. According to (Kathleen P. Allen), additionally, it is a well-

established fact that student misbehavior is a factor in teacher burnout and the decision for

novice teachers to leave the profession.

How Do Teachers Learn Classroom Management and Discipline

When you look at this complex issue, classroom management is not what it was in the

past. Classroom rules and guidelines were the main points other than course requirements in the

past; however in today’s culture, teachers have to worry about safety of themselves and other

students, being innovative and creative to keep student’s interested and constantly adapting to

changes to the profession. Teachers have to incorporate effective teaching strategies which

include meaningful content, powerful teaching strategies and an organizational structure to

support productive learning. Successful teachers employ strategies “for establishing rules and

procedures, organizing groups, monitoring and pacing classroom events, and reacting to

misbehavior, according to (Kathleen P Allen). Some teachers may revert back to when they were

in school and how their teachers maintained discipline. Although many of these teacher may not

be teaching due to retirement, they still may act in a capacity as a mentor to today’s generation of

younger teachers. Now for up and coming teachers in college, management techniques are being

incorporated in the curriculum to help circumvent these issues. Practical experience can only be

gained through actual job experience, but they have a foundation to build on. Teachers currently

in the business attend working group, field observations, student teaching, seminars and gain

valuable experience by sharing ideas and talking with their teacher counterparts.

Bullying, Prevalence, Definitions and Issues

According to Kathleen P. Allen, in the largest survey of bullying in schools in the United

States to date 29.9% of students were found to be involved in bullying demographics: 13% were

bullies, 10.6% as victims, 6.3% as bully-victims. This study is a direct indicator that there is a

definite problem that must be addressed in the United States school system. In looking into the

issue of bullying, it has been discovered that it is a two way street. Now bullying from a teachers

perspective in defined as a teacher who uses his or her power to reprimand, control or ridicule a

student beyond what would be a reasonable disciplinary course of action. According to Kathleen

P. Allen, 45% of 116 teachers surveyed at an elementary school admitted to bullying students.

Also, at one intermediate school, 30% of students stated they were bullied by teachers. During

another study, it was founded that in the United Kingdom that high school teachers were bullied

by 56.4% by students at least once, 35.6% by students sometimes or more and 9.9% by students

several times a week. The focal point of this particular part is that this behavior is undermining

the sanctity of the education process and promoting reciprocated aggression. In the event, and

lack of evidence of adult bullying going on within schools themselves, is probably a direct factor

of bullying being perpetuated throughout the masses. Teachers are an intricate part in

establishing a positive climate, thus they must maintain a professionalism that is unparallel to


Teacher Knowledge of Bullying

In order for teachers to prevent bullying they have to be educated on how to recognize the

signs and most of all they must be aware of what measures to take to reduce this epidemic. What

is viewed by most teachers as normal gossip and simply “kids being kids” is truly the tip of the

iceberg. Physical altercations and the communicating of verbal threats is what teachers view as

bullying; however through cell phone texting, email and more sophisticated ways of disguising

bullying tactics teachers are fighting a losing battle. Students are very manipulative, and due to

lack of classroom management abilities and the fact of teachers being overworked, underpaid

and stressed beyond the point of no return, some teachers simply just don’t care enough to go the

extra mile and the ones who do care simply are just out numbered. Some scholars have looked at

bullying as a social phenomenon, bullies tend to need an audience and this adds to the bully’s

powerbase. From an ecological perspective, students tend to be a product of their society. Since

they live in neighborhoods where violence and aggressiveness are prevalent, they adapt to what

they learn from society. Unfortunately, the school environment is where the aggression is

practiced. Emotional distress has been associated with exposure to neighborhood violence often

interferes academic performance and escalates the potential risks of peer bullying.

Different variables have a definite impact on the bullying epidemic sweeping the globe at

an alarming rate. First, we look at the sense of community-the acuity of belonging to a

neighborhood, social relationships that implies to the eagerness to help others. Secondly, the

exposure to dangerous and violent events where the young people live on a day to day basis.

The perceived safety in the neighborhoods in conjunction with the serious nature of social

problems. Lastly, different variables such as school climate, relationships with classmates,

relationships with teachers and attitudes towards school. Young people who are exposed to

neighborhood violence often find it hard to control their feelings of anger and irritability which

contributes to poor academic performance. Students who exhibit the lack of self control find it

difficult to concentrate on basic school tasks. They are hyperactive, impulsive and easily

distracted and find it difficult to sit still long enough to do typical school work.

What Can We Do About Bullying

Prevention and Intervention are ongoing studies, life experiences, reading materials,

workshops and attending presentations dealing with this topic in depth. Teachers are continuing

to educate themselves through schools adopting different programs that has proven to be

effective in other schools foreign and domestic. These adopted programs require continual

updated training, but in every attempt to reduce bullying it is a sacrifice an overwhelming

number of teachers is willing to make. Very often these programs advocate policy development

as well as well as realignment of the school or classroom code of conduct and behavior

management systems. Goals are obvious with these programs, reduction or the complete

eradication in the bullying/victim problems in and out of the school setting and to prevent future

problems (Dan Olweus). All attention is normally directed toward the direct bully concept. As

previously stated, direct bullying involves relatively open attacks on another student and may

include words, gestures, facial expressions or physical contact. Indirect bullying must be

addressed as well. A student exposed to this indirect bullying has a hard time making friends

within his or her class and is excluded from the peer group.

There is a direct link between the two types of bullying; direct bullying victims are

rejected by their peers and basically isolated. There is also a lot of students who are isolated and

lonely without being a target by their fellow students. Awareness and involvement involve two

general conditions; Adults at schools and to some measure at home must become aware of what

bully/victim problems exist in their child’s school and that parents must take an active part in

correcting the problem. Bullying has proven to be a considerable problem in many countries

across the world and reassures everyone in the teaching profession that no school is bully proof.

A reasonable assumption is that when you have several children together and they can’t decide who cannot be included in the group, and then bully tendencies will arise. Mapping the extent of the bully/victim problems at a particular school are a good start for an intervention program Dan Olweus). Should there an insignificant amount of bullying at a school, there must be an attempt to correct the problem altogether. By establishing that these problems exist in schools across the nation, parents and teachers must be persuaded to take aggressive action. Parents must understand that this is not an inevitable part of a child’s life. Individual measures that can be taken by the teacher is if suspected bullying is taking place then he/she should confront the bully or bullies immediately. The intent is to let these offenders know that this type of behavior will not be tolerated by anyone. Should it be deemed that it is a group of bullies, and then each student should be handled on an individual basis. Swift action should be taken so as to prevent collaboration between the groups can be established. In most cases, should the group be allowed to conspire, then the victim will be made out to be the villain. Due to the fact that bullies are calculating, devious, persuasive individuals and often possess leadership abilities which entice others to follow them. After all individuals have been interviewed separately, then placing all offenders in a group and reinforcing the facts that bullying will not be tolerated and inform all parties to include parents of possible repercussions should alleged if not proven behavior should continue.


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