Each year, schools spend millions on anti-bullying campaigns. Notable speakers are brought in to tell kids why bullying must stop and what they should do if they see or experience bullying. And each year, anti-bullying campaigns for the most part don’t work, according to a 2013 status report on “Bullying in U.S. Schools.” Kids - and even teachers - are being bullied while the issue of how to stop bullying remains unresolved.
Recently, a 16-year-old female student at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington, Delaware died after being assaulted by other students inside a school bathroom.
“The anti-bullying thing that schools put on, they don’t really listen to ‘em. It honestly has to take something tragic like this to happen for them to actually open up their eyes,” a ninth grader at the high school said about the teen’s death.
More recently, a student with special needs was filmed being beaten by another student at Santa Clarita High School. During the video, several students watched the fight and did nothing to stop it while a few can be heard laughing at what was occurring.
What do the statistics tell us about who is being bullied? What type of bullying is most prevalent? Who bullies and why?
Results from the same 2013 status report are what you would expect. Boys consistently bully other students more than girls do, and they do so at higher rates as they get older. Boys also report they were most frequently bullied by other boys, while it was more common for girls to be bullied by both girls and boys.
The report also showed that more often than not, the types of bullying against students include verbal abuse, false rumors being spread about them or intentionally excluding them.
It is also believed that bullying increases when those students involved in bullying dislike school. One out of two high school students who both bully other students and are bullied by others dislike school.
StopBullying.gov reports there are two types of children who are more likely to bully others. They are essentially those kids who see themselves as popular and want to dominate others and those that are more isolated and present as “easy targets.”
The website also claims children are more likely to bully others if they are aggressive or easily frustrated, have less parental involvement or have issues at home, think badly of others, have difficulty following rules, view violence in a positive way or have friends who bully others. Surprised? You shouldn’t be. It’s what most of us realize instinctively. We don’t need costly studies and the government telling us what we already know
While none of these statistics should shock you, what is amazing is that we continue to throw good money at research when the results are commonsensical. Let’s face it, bullying has existed in one form or another for many years. It may have been called by a different name but the results are relatively the same.
If we’re determined to spend taxpayer dollars on results that are obvious to most of us, then the research should at least focus on the steps needed to “stop” the behavior. We already know the solutions and we don’t need to wait on the government or any other entity to tell us what we should do. The solution is not politically correct to talk about but it has to be said. If you want less bullying in school and you want to stop the needless violence against innocent children who should feel safe in a learning environment, then more positive parental or caregiver involvement is the answer.
Schools can’t solve the bullying issue. Only parents becoming - and staying - more actively involved in their children’s lives will reduce the incidents of crime against their children. It may mean turning off the television and listening to what’s happening in your child’s life, seeking counseling for your child when necessary while making a commitment to attend sessions with them and communicating more often with your child’s teachers.
Think about it, parents: If you were one of the unfortunate ones who was bullied in school, who would you have wanted more to help you through it, your parents or your school? Our children need our full attention when it comes to the issue of bullying and they need to know that you will be there to stand up with them against it!
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