Monday, 15 June 2015

How about bullying?

Bullying is an unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived superiority of power. Bullying can take many forms, such as hitting, kicking, threatening others, teasing, name-calling, excluding from a group, or sending mean notes or e-mails. A child who is being bullied has a hard time defending him or herself. Often, children are bullied not just once or twice but over and over.

Bullying is very common during the elementary and middle school years especially between grades 4 and 8. Perhaps the attitude that bullying is part of growing up is what that makes the practice still common in all Indian schools. There is a lot of research that shows that being a victim of a bully can affect students’self-esteem and how they approach school. It is the victims of bullying who often report that they do not want to go to school because of fear of being bullied. Some children who are bullied decide, in turn, to bully others. For all of these reasons, it is important that schools address the bullying problem in their school.
Most bullying happens at school and on the school bus to and from school. Bullying also can take place when kids walk to andfrom school.Bullying is more likely to happen when large groups of students are supervised by a small number of adults, including during lunchtime, recess, physical education, and during transition times. Students also report being bullied in the classroom when their teacher’s attention is diverted.
Both boys and girls bully but there is some interesting differences in the way they bully. Boys tend to be bullied by other boys, whereas girls are bullied both by boys and girls. The most common form of bullying for both boys and girls is verbal bullying (teasing, name-calling). Boys are more likely to say that they are physically bullied. Girls are more likely to report being targets of rumour-spreading and sexual comments. Both boys and girls engage in what is called relational aggression. Individuals who use relational aggression tend to exclude students from a group,or they might threaten to not be someone’s friend unless he/she does what they say. Girls are somewhat more likely than boys, to bully each other through social isolation.
Bullying often involves groups of students picking on another student. Within these groups, there often is a “ring leader”and a number of followers. In addition, many students observe bullying but do not necessarily take any action—they neither engage in the bullying nor help stop the bullying. Children and youth are often reluctant to try to stop bullying because they are afraid of being bullied themselves, because the want to be part of a popular group, or because they simply are not sure how to help.
There are many factors within a child’s environment that can contribute to bullying behavior. Students who bully are more likely to witness violence in their home, have little parental supervision and lack warmth and involvement by their parents. Children who bully also are likely to “hang out” with others who bully and feel that they gain their popularity or “coolness” by teasing other students. Bullying thrives in schools where faculty and staff do not address bullying, where there is no policy against bullying and where there is little supervision of students—especially during lunch, bio-breaks. Negative models of bullying behavior are also prevalent throughout society—especially in television, movies and video games.

What can be done to reduce bullying in school?

The good news is that much can be done to stop bullying in our schools. A single school assembly, PTA meeting, or social studies lesson on bullying won’t solve the problem, however. What is needed is a team effort by students, teachers, administrators, parents and other staff to change the culture, or climate of schools. Many schools are meeting this challenge.


CBSE Coordinator at Open Minds

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