Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stopping Bullies - Part 1

About 150 years ago when I was an elementary student, bullying was prevalent from Kindergarten through 12th grade. The extent of bullying was making fun of other students and sometimes getting physically abusive. The bullying (we didn’t use that term then) was reported to a teacher or the Principal and the victimizer was given a paddling, his/her parents were called, and he/she probably received another paddling at home. But, …. those were the “good ol’ days”! Quick bullying, quick reporting, quick consequences, bullying ended from that person!

Over the years, bullying has taken on a whole new meaning with a host of increased of activities that have left scores of students feeling less-than-whole, belittled, angry, depressed, and even suicidal. Some will say that the elimination of corporal punishment in the school, as well as the elimination of spanking in the home, has, in large part, led to a decrease in fear in those who bully.

As angry and depressed as victims of bullying can be, those who bully suffer from just as much, if not more, of the same symptoms. Their bullying is what helps them to achieve some level of self-esteem, as they believe that they are temporarily a little better than their victims.

While there is certainly a variety of factors that have led to increased bullying, schools have been forced to confront the bullying head-on, so that schools can remain as safe and productive learning centers.

In reading the manual entitled, “No-bullying Program: Preventing Bullying at School”, by James Bitney and Beverly B. Title, Ph.D,, they have listed the following elements of bullying that kids have to deal with these days:

PHYSICAL BULLYING (potential harm to another person’s body or property)
Taunting, expressing physical superiority, threatening physical harm, blaming targeted student, making repeated and/or graphic threats, extortion, making threats to secure silence, threatening gestures, defacing property, pushing and shoving, stealing small items, initiating fights, scratching, tripping or causing a fall, assault, setting fires, biting, and physical cruelty.

(harm to another’s self-worth)
Insulting remarks, name-calling, teasing about possession or clothes, harassing phone calls, insulting intelligence, athletic ability, etc., and challenging in public.

(harm to another’s group acceptance)
Gossiping, started and spreading rumors, public teasing about clothes, looks, etc., insulting race or gender, undermining relationships, threatening total group exclusion, passively not including one in a group, playing mean tricks, making someone look foolish, arranging public humiliation, and ostracizing.

(Please come back next Saturday for the 2nd and final part)

Paul W. Reeves

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