After thousands of visits to schools during the past 15 years, I’ve become acutely aware of bullying, and it’s powerfully negative impact upon kids, families and schools.
Out of this awareness, I’m on a passionate mission to inform, empower and provide the tools to prevent bullying.
When talking with people about bullying and how too prevent it from happening at their school or with their child, people often ask me, “What is bullying?” “How will I know it when I see it?” These are good questions.
Bullying takes on many shapes and forms depending on the age of bully and victim. Bullying by the sheer nature of it is an imbalance of power either physically or socially. In the eyes of the victim, and other student bystanders, the bully is most often seen as stronger or more powerful.
Bullying is repetitive. Imagine this negative behavior being repeated by an individual or a group, over and over, as a means to cause embarrassment, harm, discomfort or injury. Forms of bullying may be any of the following: verbal abuse, name calling, teasing, spreading rumors or lies, intentional exclusion of groups before, during or after school. It can be the physical beating that takes place on the bus or in a locker room.
During the early years of childhood bullying is easier to see and should be dealt with quickly and often to prevent it from becoming worse later. At all grade levels, in all schools, bullying takes place! Key areas to be mindful of are: restrooms, lunchrooms, hallways, locker rooms and playgrounds. Extra care and attention should be placed on gym classes, due to the physical nature of the environment.
Nowadays bullying can be even more difficult to detect, without physical evidence of blood, bruises or torn clothing, it has become more concealed. As a parent or teacher you need to look deeper: signs of depression, loneliness, isolation and poor academics are just a few signs.
Bullying has morphed into different forms. The vehicles now come in the shape of a cell phone or computer, increasing the impact upon victims to 24/7 and amplifying the levels of pain and embarrassment. Victims can’t seem to escape the endless barrage of nasty text messages, threats, e-mails or instant messages. They come without warning and from all directions. Adding to the bullies arsenal are the new more beefed up versions of photos and video posting, creating a world of hurt that spreads like a wildfire and seems endless to its victim. Social websites can be good but these are also places for bullying to occur.
No matter what form it comes, bullying does real damage to kids of all ages.
• An estimated 160,000 kids miss school out of fear of intimidation.
• More than 100,000 students eventually drop out each year because of bullying.
• Those who are bullied are 5 times more depressed and far more likely to be suicidal!
• The U.S. Secret Service found in its study that more than two-thirds of school shooters were bullied.
Minimizing bullying or believing that this doesn’t happen in our schools, has contributed to the statistics you’ve just read. Please stay vigilant about preventing bullying.
Coming in a couple weeks: Tips for parents and kids to prevent bullying, along with actions they can take with their schools.
In order to bring awareness to bullying,The Spirit Desk LLC, helped sponsor a couple of students who created the following video: