Bullying: Fast Facts
Bullying directly affects students’ ability to learn.
- Students who are bullied often have declining grades and lose self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth. ((Hoover & Oliver,1996, p. 10; Hazler, Hoover, & Oliver, 1992; Garbarino, 1999; Olweus, 1993; McMaster, Connolly, Pepler, & Craig, 1998; Rigby, 2001)
- Students who are bullied report more physical and emotional symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, anxiety, and depression. (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry; Olweus, 1993; McMaster, Connolly, Pepler, & Craig, 1998; Rigby, 2001)
- Bullying affects witnesses as well as targets. Witnesses often report feeling unsafe, helpless, and afraid that they will be the next target. (Pepler, Craig, Ziegler, & Charach, 1993.)
Bystanders can be powerful allies.
- Students can be especially effective in bullying intervention. More than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied.
- Student bystanders are often aware of situations before adults in the school; it is therefore important that all students feel empowered to intervene safely in bullying situations. A school can facilitate this behavior by cultivating a climate of respect and tolerance within the school. Students should be encouraged to stand up for one another and such behavior should be recognized and rewarded.
- Since student bystanders can often intervene most effectively, it’s important for schools to encourage bystander intervention by teaching skills and offering resources that support this behavior. Schools should also seek to ensure that bystanders are protected and students know not to put themselves in danger.
Bullying is not a “rite of passage” but a serious threat to student safety and well-being.
- Some say bullying makes children tougher and is not a serious problem, but the reality is that students who are bullied are more likely to be depressed and/or suicidal. Student safety is at risk, and schools and communities have an obligation to protect their students.
- Students, parents, educators, and communities all have a responsibility to address bullying in schools, on line and in communities.
- Students feel that the adults in their lives – parents, teachers, community members – are failing to adequately address this issue.
Bullying is not exclusive to older students, male students, or popular students.
- Bullying is a behavior, not an identity. Labeling as student as a “bully” can have a detrimental effect on their future and often limits their ability to change their behavior.
- Students can have multiple roles: they can be the one subjected to bullying and the one who bullies. Strategies that focus on holding students accountable for their behavior – but also empowers them to change that behavior – are more effective than punitive punishments and peer mediation in bullying situations.
- Any student can exhibit bullying behavior – male or female, popular or not popular, students with good grades, and those who struggle academically. Teachers need to focus on a student’s behavior, not their profile, when determining if bullying occurred.
Effective bullying prevention efforts involve students, parents, teachers, and community members.
- Involving community members such as law enforcement officials, faith organizations, community action groups, and others allows school officials and parents to address the bigger issues of disrespect, bias, and violence that can contribute to bullying issues in schools.
- A community-wide effort shows students that adults care what happens to them and that they are not alone.