Anti Bullying Boston

What Is Bullying And Why Do Children Bully

The Effects of School Bullying

Bullying in Boston Schools

When SEPS representatives have spoken to teachers and schools one of the most common things we have heard is, “there’s no bullying problem here”. After gaining access to the children at the school we have found this out to be far from the case.

In our 2007 Survey into Bullying we found the following: students believed that teachers were (on average) only 8% aware of the level of bullying that existed in their school, whilst believing that the teachers thought themselves to be 78% aware of the level of bullying. When we interviewed teachers, they believed they were 89% aware of all bullying incidents at their schools (SEPS & RIVA 2007 Survey “Violence & Aggression in Schools & Colleges”).

In our conversations with teachers we found that tended to talk about incidents of bullying in terms of physical assaults and fights – which probably goes to show the scope of their 89% awareness level.

By contrast when children talk about bullying they tend to mention the physical assaults and fights but express more concern about being excluded or being subject to rumor and gossip. A large number mentioned the use of email and phone texting (cyber bullying) to do this. Whereas before the spread of this technology, home offered a place of escape and refuge for a bullied child it now no longer offers such barriers to the outside world.

The effects of constant character assassination, victimization and physical abuse involve some of the following things, which are listed below (this is in no way an exhaustive list).

Days Taken Off Sick & Through Truancy Due To Bullying

Children and teenagers who took the survey were asked to categorize themselves as those who were: “never bullied”, “sometimes bullied” or “constantly bullied”.

When we asked children to say how many days they had taken off sick in the last year, we found that of those children who took over 5 days off 73% of them had been bullied to some degree and of that group 82% of them had been “constantly bullied”.

Those children who reported to never having been bullied had an inverse number of days taken off to those who had been bullied i.e. if you plotted the number of days taken off by the number of children taking them by category of bullying the more you were bullied the more days you took off.

School Bullying Programs in Boston Schools This was also true but to an even starker degree when days taken off through truancy were considered. In fact the only group of children that took 10 days or more off playing truant were those that had been bullied.

Knowing this it is no surprise to find out that children who are bullied often end up falling behind at school. Children who may once have achieved good grades may lose interest or fail to see the value of school work as they begin to suffer from the effects of depression caused by bullying or in some cases may deliberately fail or under achieve if they believe that the reason they are being bullied is due to academic success.

If a child is being bullied they end up being excluded from activities such as schoolyard games and general healthy conversations. Deprived of these things they may fail to develop good communication skills, as well as learning how to handle and resolve disputes; only ever playing the part of the submissive person who is forced to accept another person’s argument or position.

As well as stunting or restricting a child’s academic and social skills bullying can also leave a child having to deal with long term trauma. It is in this area that bullying has its greatest effect.

Bullying Trauma

Trauma develops where there is extreme stress coupled with a sense of helplessness. Man bullied children and their families quickly run out of ideas, strategies and coping mechanisms for dealing with bullying, leading to despair and a sense of hopelessness. Add to this the stress itself of constant abuse, uncertainty of violence and social exclusion and it is not difficult to see how a bullied child can become severely traumatized.

Often these feelings turn to anger, which with no natural outlet (normally it would be absorbed by some form of competitive activity, such as sports, healthy teasing etc, which is denied the bullied child through social exclusion) it becomes internalized, manifesting itself as shame, guilt and self-hate.

In extreme cases (but not necessarily as rare as people think) this self-hate can prompt a child to try and take their own life i.e. “Bullycide”. What is perhaps most frightening about child suicide is that it is rarely a “cry for help” but instead a determined and committed effort to end life.

Dealing with bullying has to not only focus on strategies to deal with the bully but also on how to help a child direct his or her anger and manage the feelings of guilt and shame they have. Preventing such levels of self-hate are extremely important in a successful anti-bullying program.

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