Phoebe Prince . . . Tyler Clementi . . . Bully the documentary . . . The subject of bullying is drawing increasing attention across the country as a major problem in education. Campaigns to stop bullying, especially in schools, are gaining momentum. State boards of education are revising curricula to address the issue, and the White House cosponsored a national conference on safe schools in March 2012 attended by more than 400 educators. Even Lady Gaga has gotten behind the push to end this form of harmful aggression, launching the Born This Way Foundation last year.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-age children where a real or perceived power imbalance occurs. In other words, a bully uses his or her power—whether physical strength, popularity, or knowledge of embarrassing information—to control, harm, or humiliate another person. Teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, and taunting are aspects of verbal bullying. Physical bullying can involve not just hurting a person’s body but spitting at or on someone and taking or breaking someone’s possessions. Behavior that is considered bullying includes not just attacking a physically weaker person or verbally abusing someone. Social bullying involves excluding a person from a group or activity on purpose, spreading rumors about someone, or embarrassing someone in public. Children who are bullied and those who perpetrate bullying behavior can experience serious, lasting problems as a result.
Federal and local partners joined up in Arlington, Texas, to host the first ever LGBT Conference on Safe Schools and Communities in late March. The conference focused on topics ranging from civil rights and cyber bullying to family acceptance and domestic violence. Its aim was to empower and inform advocates about the resources available to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered (LGBT) community in particular to address this critical problem. The urgency of the topic is highlighted by a 10-year study that found 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment in school.
Image credit: © Vuk Vukmirovic/Fotolia
Check out the resources of the federal government focused on stopping bullying in schools.
(Source: U.S. Department of Education; accessed April 30, 2012)
- On Bullying: Resources and Questions for Writing or Discussion
This New York Times blog presents links to online resources, including Times articles and antibullying organizations’ websites, as well as lesson plans and discussion questions.
(Source: New York Times, April 5, 2012)
- Bullying Is Not a Rite of Passage—Theme of White House LGBT Safe Schools Conference
This article reports on the 2012 White House–sponsored conference on safe schools; includes a video message by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan on the negative effects of bullying on students’ classroom performance and desire to stay in school.
(Source: U.S. Department of Education, April 17, 2012)
- Born This Way Foundation: Empowering Youth, Inspiring Bravery
Visit the website of the campaign founded by Lady Gaga aimed at fostering “a more accepting society, where differences are embraced and individuality is celebrated”; includes firsthand stories.
(Source: Born This Way Foundation; accessed April 30, 2012)
- How Bystanders Can Stop Bullying
This article is just one of many related to bullying at this Netplaces site; others include “Factors That Lead to Bullying Behavior,” “Common Bullying Myths,” and “Cyber Bullying.”
(Source: Netplaces/New York Times Co.; accessed April 30, 2012)
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Offers Schools Groundbreaking Solution to Combat Bullying and Other School-Related Incidents
This press release tells about an initiative by publisher HMH to empower students, teachers, parents, and educators in reporting, tracking, and managing school-related incidents of bullying.
(Source: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, April 17, 2012)