Bullying in Schools: the Real-Life Effects and Strategies for Prevention

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Updated: Aug 22, 2023
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I’m sure we have all known a bully. Maybe you have even been bullied yourself or have witnessed someone else getting bullied. Today, it may seem so common to hear of kids teasing or making fun of each other that it may not always be taken it as seriously as it should be. Let’s take a look at the real-life effects Bullying has on its victims.

Addressing the Scope of the Issue

Extensive research shows that Bullying at school is increasing.

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Since Bullying has negative consequences for the general school climate and for the rights of students to learn in a safe environment without fear, and since Bullying can have lifelong negative effects, schools need to understand the wide scope of the problem, and they need to figure out how to discourage Bullying and to encourage positive behavior.

“Various reports and studies have established that approximately 15 percent of students are either bullied regularly or initiators of bullying behavior,” says author Ron Banks in the article Bullying in Schools. This statistic helps us to understand how often Bullying truly occurs in schools today. We see more statistics in the article Bully-Proof, Your School by Colleen Newquist. Newquist states,” As many as 7 percent of eighth-grade students in the United States stay home at least once a month because of bullies.” Not only are these poor students being bullied, but they also resort to skipping school and missing out on their education just to avoid conflict. Victims of Bullying may also develop “stress-related illnesses” such as chronic fear, stomachaches, and headaches, as well as depression and low self-esteem.

Lifelong Consequences

These problems can have severe effects on someone’s life and may follow them into adulthood. Michael Lemonick, in “The Bully Blight,” reports that Bullying has negative consequences for bullies. He says,” Bullies are four times as likely as the average child to have engaged in criminal behavior by age 24.” They also grow up lacking social, coping, and negotiating skills and are more likely to engage in substance abuse. Lemonick also develops the dangers of Bullying with his story about LaShanda Timble. “LaShanda Timble is what society considers a goth. She wears black lipstick and listens to rock bands rather than rap music like other kids her age. Kids at her school tease her by claiming she will cast a spell on them and calling her ugly and crazy,” says Lemonick as he tells her story. In this situation, LaShanda is being teased for being herself and looking the way she wants to look. There’s nothing wrong with being different.

Deconstructing the Bully

A definition of a bully has several parts. One part of the definition of Bullying is to describe the behavior of the bullies. They typically seem to get some sort of satisfaction from inflicting harm on others, have little empathy, are generally defiant or argumentative towards adults, have little anxiety, tend to break the rules, and maybe antisocial. Bullies tend to display certain traits or behavior; this may help you identify a bully. A second part of the definition of Bullying is a description of the victims of bullies. Victims are usually anxious, insecure, cautious, and suffer from low self-esteem, rarely defending themselves against Bullying. They may lack social skills and friends, meaning they are often alone. This makes them easy targets for bullies. They also tend to be physically weaker than their peers. These are traits a bully victim typically displays.

A third part of the definition is that bullies cause injury or discomfort in several ways. Bully may act negatively in ways such as physical contact, this includes hitting, pushing, and tripping, or they may use harsh words towards others. More indirect actions include making faces or gestures, spreading rumors, or intentionally excluding someone from a group. Bullies often don’t see how harmful these actions can be. A fourth part of the definition is that “bullying is proactive aggression.” This means aggressive behavior that usually occurs with no apparent reason or initiative.

Common Characteristics of Bullies

Bullies share several characteristics. Students who exhibit bullying behaviors seem to have a need for power and control. This is a very common characteristic among bullies. A second common characteristic, bullies appear to get satisfaction from inflicting pain and suffering on others. They often defend their actions by saying that their victims made them act out by provoking them. It is not uncommon for bullies to blame their behavior on their victims. A fourth characteristic of bullies is that their families have negative similarities. Looking back at the article “Bullying in Schools,” Ron Banks shares this statistic with us. “Studies indicate that bullies often come from homes where physical punishment is used, where they are taught to strike back. Many bullies come from a negative living environment.

Vulnerability of Victims

The victims of bullies share several characteristics. One characteristic of victims is that they often will not stand up for themselves. Victims rarely defend themselves or retaliate when confronted by bullies. They are often shy, insecure, and standoffish. A second characteristic of the victims is that they are often isolated from their classmates. They may lack social skills and friends, making them socially isolated. They may also have overprotective parents that further isolate them. Bullies tend to prey on kids that have little to no friends and are often alone. A third characteristic is that they often come from overprotective families.

Victims that come from these families tend to be close to their parents, who may be described as overprotective. These parents may not allow their kids to participate in activities other kids may be allowed to do. This can be hard for a kid to deal with when their classmates are allowed to do things they are not. Without realizing it, some parents may be isolating their kids. A final characteristic that the victims share is physical weakness. The major defining physical characteristic of bully victims is that they tend to be physically weaker than other students. Other physical characteristics that may contribute to Bullying can be weight, height, clothing, or wearing glasses or braces.

The victims of bullies suffer in many ways. One of the most visible consequences of Bullying is that the victims miss many days of school. As we read in the article Bully-Proof, Your School,” As many as 7 percent of America’s eighth graders stay home at least once a month to avoid school bullies. Victims often begin to fear school and consider it to be an unsafe and unhappy place. These victims turn to isolation to avoid bullies; this can lead to failing grades and depression. A second consequence of Bullying is that the victims “turn their anger at the bullies inward.” This may lead to depression, anxiety, and even suicide. Bullying is also linked to violence, such as school shootings.

Understanding the Motivations Behind Bullying

Bullies suffer in many ways from their Bullying of others. One negative consequence is that bullies do not mature emotionally. In Understanding Bullying, the author Tara L. Kuther says,” Bullies fail to learn how to cope, manage their emotions, and communicate effectively. Skills that are vital in the adult world. Bullies are affected as a result of their own behavior. A second negative consequence is that bullies often end up breaking the law as adults. A statistic in The Bully Blight shows,” Bullies are four times as likely as average children to engage in criminal behavior by 24 and more likely to engage in substance abuse.” Bad behavior and rule-breaking often follow bullies into adulthood.

Strategies for Handling Bullying

Schools can take several steps to end Bullying. The first step a school can take is to make sure everyone in the school is aware of and understands Bullying. Bullying can consist of hitting, taunting, name-calling, rumor spreading, social exclusion, extortion, or insulting messages. If your child is being bullied, listen and don’t blame them. Reaching out to a teacher or principal may be a good idea. Support your child and help them gain confidence, don’t let them let the bully bring them down. If your child is a bully, supervise and monitor them. Try to spend more time with them; this might help you to understand why they are doing this. Don’t forget to praise good behavior and let them know when something they are doing is wrong. By making people more aware of Bullying, hopefully, there will be less of it and set consequences for bullies. A second step schools can take is to teach students how to handle a bully. Some ways may be: simply asking them to stop, speaking to a counselor or principal about the situation, and finding out why the bully has a problem with you.

The administration should work with students to develop a code of conduct. This empowers and encourages bully victims to stand up for themselves and lets bullies know what they are doing is not okay. These steps can help make schools safer and more accepting by encouraging students to get along and treat each other kindly. It also acts as a disciplinary action. A third step schools can take is to establish a complaint box. A complaint box allows students to anonymously report a bullying incident. This way, students can ask for help without other students or their bully finding out, as sometimes this can lead to more Bullying and name-calling. The complaint box acts as a safe place for students that may need help but are afraid to ask for it. A fourth step schools can take takes place in each classroom. Each teacher can take several steps to eliminate Bullying in the classroom and in the school.

Teachers can lead a class discussion to help students better understand Bullying and its effects, write a specific no-bullying policy, teach social skills through lessons and activities focusing on making friends and taking turns, and teach students how to avoid being a victim and what to do if they are one. Teachers should support those who speak out about being bullied and use extra effort to include all students in class activities. Reinforce responsible, positive behaviors. By taking these steps, teachers can educate students on Bullying and how harmful it is. Specific activities and lessons can teach kids how to get along with others and how to handle problems with other students.

Encouraging Positive Behavior

Every school should create a code of conduct. I think that students should try to act in the following ways. A school’s code of conduct may look something like this: be part of the solution, don’t be a bully, encourage others to do the same, do your part to make the community a safe place, and set the example of a caring, kind individual. These rules will create a standard for students to meet, including consequences for Bullying may be beneficial.

While Bullying occurs daily in every school. That’s not the only place. It also occurs on social media, at work, and in everyday life situations. Bullying happens to people of all ages. Starting with our students, let’s change this. As teachers, parents, and fellow students, we should encourage children to get along and treat others right. Catch the problem before it even begins.

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Bullying in Schools: The Real-Life Effects and Strategies for Prevention. (2023, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/bullying-in-schools-the-real-life-effects-and-strategies-for-prevention/