How many stories have you heard in the recent past about young people who have fallen victim to bullying? One story is one too many. Unfortunately many of the stories end with the tragic loss of life as a direct result. According to the website, Stopbullying.gov, bullying is defined as “intentionally aggressive, usually repeated” verbal, social, or physical behavior aimed at a specific person or group of people.
Bullying happens in any setting and affects all age groups from school-aged children to adults. While bullying occurs in the work place, the most common settings are schools, school buses, playgrounds and with more frequency, cyber bullying.
Nationally the statistics are alarming:
- 77% of students admit to being the victim of some type of bullying behavior
- 58% admitted they never told an adult or authority figure
- 70.6% have witnessed some form of bullying in their school
- nearly 30% admitted to bullying themselves
- 1 of 10 students drops out of school due to repeated bullying
Furthermore, bullying has a direct connection to the school shooting epidemic, as 75% of school shootings have been linked to harassment and bullying against the shooter.
In 2010 Massachusetts passed a new anti-bullying law in the aftermath of several tragic incidents. Among other things, the law requires schools to create and implement bullying prevention plans. The law also upgraded multiple criminal statutes to address cyber-bullying conduct. Unfortunately, Massachusetts’s anti-bullying law, once deemed “model legislation”, seems to have fallen short of expectations as a number of school districts have failed to follow through due to underfunding and poor regulations by the State.
In part, because the law does not require schools to gather statistics on bullying incidents and report them to the State, the data gathered is rare, making it impossible to measure the program’s success. In addition, a study conducted by the bullying prevention website, www.nobullying.com found that only 20-30% of students who are bullied actually report the incidents to adults or authorities. Without accurate reporting, we face significant hurdles in the struggle to end bullying and violence in America.
In honor of National Bullying Prevention Awareness month, several informative posts with topics relating to bullying and bullying prevention will be featured on the New Hope blog including tips for parents of bullied or vulnerable children. Look for those throughout the month of October and be sure to share with your family, friends and social networks. In the meantime, talk to your children, know the warning signs of bullying, and ask what your school district is doing to address bullying prevention. Contact New Hope if you need assistance.
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, call our Toll-Free, 24-Hour Hotline at 800-323-HOPE (4673).
For additional resources about domestic violence or bullying, visit www.new-hope.org/get-the-facts/