Understanding Bullying and Violence | Community Spirit

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Understanding Bullying and Violence
Understanding Bullying and Violence

Understanding Bullying and Violence
by William Jackson, M.Edu

There are growing stories of students from elementary, middle and high
school who experience at various levels bullying; this may come in the
form of harassment and torment at the amusement of one person or
multiple persons.
Statistics from Health Resources and Services Administration estimates
that up to 25 percent of American students are bullied and the numbers
are rising. According to Jonathan Cohen, President of the Center for Social
and Emotional Education (http://schoolclimate.org/), more than 160,000
American students stay home from school on any given day because they're
afraid of being bullied.

Media reports have documented bullying even on college campuses across
the country. There is no set economic, cultural demographic, bullying is across
the board. During a recent workshop for Cathedral Arts in Jacksonville, Florida,
educators discussed the realities of bullying. Bullying will not just go away and
schools must be on constant look out for signs and symptoms.
Educators and parents must work together to prevent this harassment in the
educational and social systems of society.

Violent Retaliation
The recent cases of school shootings, retaliatory assaults and even suicide
attempts may have their roots in bullying. In three fourths of the cases studied
for the "Interim Report on the Prevention of Targeted Violence in Schools"
(www.ed.gov/offices/oese/sdfs), student shooters reacted violently to being
bullied by fellow students. Students feel trapped with no alternative to defend
themselves because they feel adults will not support them. In 75 percent of
cases where students used a gun, students planned the attack and almost
all cases they told a peer or sibling about their intention to kill. Those entrusted
with the information only told an adult in two of the cases.

As I conduct bullying workshops and talk to kids about cyberbullying, physical,
emotional and psychological bullying the discussion is similar in that
parents, teachers, administrators and guidance counselors should listen to kids,
developing better connections with kids, and developing a  understanding
in the school that allows kids to talk freely, openly and honestly.

Kids need to know someone cares from PreK to high school. Never assume a
child is “handling a situation” on their own. No one can read a person’s mind
or understand their emotional condition without talking to them.

The recent reports from Ohio show that powerful and unchecked emotions can
explode with deadly results. Children and youth need to know someone is there
that they can trust.

What is Bullying?
Many parents do not understand the complexity of bullying schools.
In Florida, statute defines bullying as systematically and chronically inflicting
physical hurt or psychological distress through teasing; social exclusion; threats;
intimidation; stalking; physical violence; theft; sexual, religious or racial
harassment; public humiliation; or destruction of property.
This includes the harassment of LGBT students who face taunting, discrimination
and even death threats. The tragic events that have happened on school buses,
lunch rooms and classrooms are in many cases retaliation against  bullies. When
students feel they have nowhere else to turn they strike out against their

Empowering Families
The quote; "It takes a village to raise children"
Stated several times by Mrs. Hillary Clinton, truer words have not been spoken
about raising children in the twenty and twenty-first century. Children are exposed to
many challenges, but schools should be a safe haven, a refuge from bullying,
harassment, discrimination, physical and emotional harm.  The results of bullying
last a life time of emotional turmoil that parents must address.
Resources to aid parents in helping them to deal with bullying if their children
are exposed, experiencing or involved in bullying.
The first course of action is for parents to talk to their children about being bullied
or if they are the bully. There should be empathy for those that are bullies
because this shows underlying challenges that must be addressed, not just
through punishment, but counseling and treatment.

Bullying Resources:

Stop Bullying Now
Interactive Cartoons for Kids

See, read, and hear the impact that bullying has had on people's lives.

PBS Parents Information Bullying Education

This is an interactive quiz on bullying

Youth Violence Statistics

Bully Police

Sexting - A Brief Guide for Educators and Parents

Sexting Policies in Schools

Arlington Businesses