Each day an estimated 160,000 students in the USA refuse to go to school because they dread the physical and verbal aggression of their peers.
Many more attend school in a chronic state of anxiety and depression. It’s reported that 6 out of 10 American youth witness bullying at least once a day.
Bullying can result in reluctance to go to school and truancy, headaches and stomach pains, reduced appetite, shame, anxiety, irritability, aggression and depression. Bullying is a direct attack on a student’s status, sense of belonging and core identity, and often results in low self-esteem. The effects of bullying often continue many years into adulthood. In the most extreme cases, targets have taken out their anger and despair through school shootings or by committing suicide. While the target of the bullying bears the brunt of the harm, there are negative consequences to everyone as well.
Students who habitually bully miss the opportunity to learn an alternative to aggression. Research tells us that they often develop a habitual tendency to abuse power and are increasingly shunned as they reach the higher grades. Approximately 25 percent of school bullies will be convicted of a criminal offense in their adult years.
Students on the sidelines (the “bystanders”) commonly report extreme discomfort at witnessing bullying, but say that they do not know how to prevent it. Many are silenced by their fear that they will be the next target of bullying if they dare to speak out. Often they grow up believing that they are powerless to stop abusive behaviors in others.
For the school, the costs of bullying are countless hours consumed in tackling a problem that is resistant to change, truancies, reduced student retention, low teacher morale, negative perceptions of the school by the wider community and parent hostility. The school campus becomes a place where diverse youth are marginalized and where no-one feels safe. As students become alienated from school, academic performance declines. Schools are increasingly sued for failing to provide a safe learning environment and are being held liable for the harassment, violence and suicides caused by bullying.
If you are being bullied, know or suspect someone who is being bullied, and you would like additional information, click on the link below.
If you or a child is at immediate risk of harm because of bullying: Call the police 911.
If you know of a child/teenager that is feeling suicidal because of bullying: Contact the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
If a teacher is not keeping the child safe from being bullied: Contact local school administrators (principal or superintendent).
If the individual that is being bullied is sick, stressed, not sleeping, or is having other problems because of bullying: Contact your counselor or other health professional.
If a child is bullied because of their race, ethnicity, or disability and local help is not working to solve the problem: Contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office on Civil Rights
Starting a new year at school can be a lot of fun: there are new friends and teachers to look forward to, old friends to meet up with, and a whole new experience to enter. Sadly, all of this can easily fade into the background if bullying arises. There are many different forms of bullying and it is important for everyone to know about them so that it can be recognized and dealt with when it comes up. Don’t ever feel ashamed or scared of having to report an incident of bullying to a call center live answering service. Bullying, whatever the reason, is always wrong. There is always a way to deal with it, even if the situation may seem impossible. Read on through the rest of this article to learn how to spot the signs of bullying and how to protect yourself or friends from it.