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Are Public Schools Doing Enough to Prevent Bullying?

Essay by   •  May 14, 2011  •  Case Study  •  2,002 Words (9 Pages)  •  2,680 Views

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Bullying is a problem faced by many school officials. Children and their families are affected by the bullying that often occurs on school property resulting in negative effects for victims. Only nine states in the country currently have a state wide anti-bully law. North Carolina is among the states that do not. According to the General Assembly, now is an act to prevent bullying in schools called No Bullying Anyone at Public schools Act ("Associated Press", April 30, 2009). Hopefully, it will become effective for the 2009-2010 school years. However, all of the school districts in North Carolina do have anti-bullying policies. The Iredell County school district bullying policy clearly defines bullying and the different ways they are trying to address the problem. This paper will discuss the argument on whether bullying in schools are being handle. Also, the effects bullying have on family and the role of the staff as well as what can be done by the schools to combat the problem. Is bullying simply an act by a person desiring to dominate another person and can the problem of school bullying be resolved?

Bullying is an intentional repeated act of negative behavior upon another person. The act is intended to harm another person or to disturb him or her (Bullying, April 27, 2009). There is some form of bullying every seven minutes within the schools in the United States. In the past, bullying has been viewed by many people as a natural childhood occurrence. Many adults were either the victim of bullying or were the harasser. Bullying is an issue that is worthy of serious attention.

School violence cases such as the Columbine school shooting on April 20th, 1999 have resulted in many states and school districts taking a closer look at the bullying problem (Bounds, April 20, 2009). The students and staff of Columbine High School were terrorized by two of their own students armed with guns and two propane bombs. On that day there were 36 students and 1 teacher that died and many more injured. It was initially believed that two students that carried out the massacre were victims of bullying. The incident lead to anti-bullying policies and the institutional of better security measures in schools. Research by the United States of department of education states that: 37 school shootings find that 27 of the 37 student shooters felt threatened, harassed, or were injured by others ("Associated Press", April 30, 2009). In North Carolina, bullying may take place not only inside the school but also on school buses at bus stops, school sponsored functions, and other extracurricular activities. School bullying may involve hitting or attacking another person. It may be verbal involving name calling or threats and taking or damaging of personal belongings. It could also involve the spreading of rumors about a person or the exclusion of a person from an activity or group. In kindergarten and peaks through grades sixth through eighth grade bullying begins and persists in high school. One out of every four children will be bullied by another child during the duration of one month according to the American Department of Justice ("Associated Press", April 30, 2009).

Many children or students participate in some form of bullying at some time another. As adolescents approaches aggression often increases in students. There is more than one type of bullying that exists in public schools. Most imagine a bully to a girl that teased them a lot during school or the biggest boy in school. People may think of this as the only type of bullying. There are four main types of bullying according to Horn, physical bullies engage in hitting or kicking the victim, and taking or damaging the victim's property. Physical bullies may also assert their power to make a victim do things they would not normally do. These kinds of bullies usually carry their aggressive behavior into adulthood unfortunately. (Horn, Taking the Bully by the Horns). The other types of bullying are the verbal, relational, and the reactive bully. Verbal bullies use words to hurt another person. Verbal bullying includes insulting, name calling, and constant teasing. This form of bullying can be most traumatic form of bullying because unlike the physical bullying, the verbal bullies do not leave visible scars. Relational bullies will use their relationship with their peers to convince their peers to exclude the victim from their social connections. This form of bullying is much more common in girls than boys. They may spread nasty rumors about the victim to encourage exclusion from her peer groups. Rejection is hard to deal with at all ages, but may be extremely difficult during adolescent year (Horn, Taking the Bully by the Horns).

This last type is the reactive victims. Reactive victims are usually the most difficult of bully types to identify because they look like the victim to many people. However, reactive victims do things too mock the bully and often times bully people themselves. They may have been a victim at some time, but as time progressed they began to encourage the bully to mess with them. The reactive victim after getting the bully to react to the taunting, would fight back claiming it to be self defense. When any one of these actions is forced upon a person repeatedly, then it is bullying. Some bullies grow out of it in 2 to 3 years. Some carry the acts throughout their school year and then into adulthood (Horn, Taking the Bully by the Horns).

Identifying a bully is not always clear. They come in all shapes and sizes. They come from all ethnic backgrounds. Bullies usually blame the victims for the attacks. A bully will most often be a student with more social support and friends than his or her victim. A student make a person feel bad, you gain power over that particular person. Power makes a person feel that they are better than the other person. It gives the bully the opportunity to stand out in a crowd and be noticed by his or her peers. Bullies feel that making a person feel bad or hurting a fellow student seems a small price to pay for the attention the bully gets from his or her classmates.

Bullying is usually the result of other factors in a child's life. The bully may be struggling in school or experiencing trouble at home. Another reason students bully is because they think it is a cool thing to do. Too often, the behavior of a bully is encouraged or not stopped. Students who are physically different are more likely to be victimized.

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