Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stopping Bullies - Part 2

(Continued from February 13, 2010) .... While researching “Bullying Causes”, the team of Olweus, Limber, and Mihalec discovered the following:

Two types of victims:
1) Passive – does not stand for self, smaller in stature, insecure, dependent upon adults – always loses
2) Provocative – often labeled as a bully, annoys everybody – always loses.

They also discovered that Peer Mediation does not work with bullying as,
1) Peer mediation issues are negotiated by students and are based on litigants having equal power and seeking resolutions.
2) Bullies have greater power and do not seek resolution; Peer Mediation will actually unwillingly re-victimize victim.

What we certainly know about bullying in schools is that:
1) it exists almost every single day
2) it goes unnoticed by most adults in schools, as bullies do not bully others when adults are present
3) it often goes unreported, as victims are embarrassed
4) repeated bullying that goes unreported is what has led to anger, depression, suicidal thoughts and actions, lawsuits, and an environment in which some kids do not feel comfortable. In fact, due to excessive unreported bullying, some kids would rather be anywhere but school

Clearly, in order to stop bullying, the bullying must be reported. The bully will certainly not report his/her actions nor will the victim report the actions. However, after dealing with multiple issues of bullying, we have discovered that there is somebody who CAN report the bullying: THE THIRD PERSON.

Yes, there is always a third person (perhaps more) who witnesses bullying acts. Since the bully and victim will not report the bullying, it is up to the third-person to report it. The third-person must be given an avenue to report the bullying; must be assured that his/her identity will be protected; and must be assured that the school employees will quickly launch into gear to stop the bullying.

Yes, bullying is a major concern in schools today (it’s gone way beyond some thug stealing my “Twinkies” at lunch). But, it can be effectively stopped by having the third-person report it and having the school officials step in and deal with it under the confines of school policy.

After all, bullies prefer to operate in a cloud of secrecy and without fear or retribution. If bullies are no longer allowed to bully without consequence, they will cease to bully. And, with the best-case scenario, not only will the victims be freed of bullying, but perhaps the bullies, as they also suffer from self-esteem issues, will seek out those who can help them.

But, remember, it all starts with reporting the bullying to the proper authorities. Do not remain silent! Hang in there!

Paul W. Reeves

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