BULLYING…….. I have occasionally been asked about bullying in schools and how it is handled. Statistics suggest that 25% of primary schoolers and 33% of secondary school children are bullied in the UK . In the US 11% of children report being bullied. I was interested to read that for the first time in the 97 year history of the Boy Scouts, newcomers must show they have learned Scout-approved ways to avoid being pushed around and called names if they want to move through the ranks. Bullying has received due emphasis over the years in the organization and now that is being reinforced with Merit badge recognition. The handbook also covers cyber bullying.
Effective Programs have been developed to reduce bullying in schools. Research has found that bullying is most likely to occur in schools where there is a lack of adult supervision during breaks, where teachers and students are indifferent to or accept bullying behavior, and where rules against bullying are not consistently enforced.
While approaches that simply crack down on individual bullies are seldom effective, when there is a school-wide commitment to end bullying, it can be reduced by up to 50%. Approaches shown to be effective focuses on changing school and classroom climates are: raising awareness about bullying; increasing teacher and parent involvement and supervision; forming clear rules and strong social norms against bullying; and providing support and protection for all students. This approach involves teachers, principals, students, and everyone associated with the school, including janitors, cafeteria workers, and crossing guards. Adults become aware of the extent of bullying at the school, and they involve themselves in changing the situation, rather than looking the other way. Students pledge not to bully other students, to help students who are bullied, and to make a point to include students who are left out.