Dr. Moren Comments on Bullying at Kenter
Bullying in schools is as old as any problem that plagues schools, and yet it is one of those cases that receive the least amount of attention in spite of its increase in recent years. Bullying is a comprehensive term that describes “deliberate” antagonistic action or creation of a situation with the “intent” of inflicting emotional, physical, or psychological distress. The behavior can be a single or repeated act and may be electronic, non-verbal, psychological, sexual, social, physical, or verbal. Bullying seeks to secure or maintain an imbalance of power between the perpetrator and the target.
The air of denial is sometimes so pronounced that some schools brand themselves as "bully free" institutions. In the end, these downplayed incidents leave victims traumatized and scarred for many years while the culprits gain more confidence to continue with their evil deeds.
Physical abuse, taunting, and exclusion of the victim from popular groups and past times are some symptoms of bullying in schools. The victims are often those students who are typically insecure, branded as a nerd or geek, and lack a circle of friends.
Although most victims of bullying in schools are too meek to take matters into their own hands, a few of them can be pushed to certain critical limits. In the recent bullying cases involving high school and college age students that have made national news, the commonality was taunting that continued over a span of years beginning as early as pre-school.
A recent study showed that 60% of identified bullies during their adolescent years eventually got involved in at least one criminal conviction by age 24. Clearly it's a problem that builds to later consequences. 71% of school-age children have been bullied and 60% have bullied others according to the survey.
We encourage parents to talk with their children about their days at school. We encourage students to report acts of bullying. Teachers have begun to make office referrals for even simple types of bullying so we can begin with parental intervention and counseling. We have an obligation to our children to stop bullies as early as possible. And just as important, we must address the victims of bullying so they don’t go through their school days feeling rejected or as if they had done something wrong.
There are many types of bullying. Some acts of bullying are part of a continuum of aggressive or violent behavior that can and do constitute other categories of misconduct such as assault, battery, child abuse, hate crimes, etc. Among the most prevalent are verbal, physical, indirect, social alienation, intimidation, and cyberbullying.
Below are some bullying facts that are related to each type mentioned.
Verbal bullying – This is the most common type. It includes name-calling, offensive remarks or consistently making the person the butt of jokes.
Physical bullying – Although usually portrayed as the most common type in the movies, it only comes second to verbal bullying. Any aggressive hitting, pulling or shoving is classified under this type.
Indirect bullying – Usually common among girls, it involves back-biting and spreading false rumors about a certain person.
Social alienation – We usually see this in teenage films wherein the main character, typically a demure type, is excluded from groups by pompous girls
Intimidation – Any type of verbal threat with the purpose of making the victim give in to the bully’s demands is considered under this category.
Cyberbullying – Since the advent of the Internet and the introduction of the cell phone, a host of new and diverse bullying facts have manifested. All of these are classified under cyberbullying. It involves destroying or smearing the victim’s reputation via emails, blogs, forum posts, text messages, etc.
If our community becomes aware of these bullying facts, it may help us to reduce the number of students who are bullied at our school. We encourage parents to communicate any acts of bullying to an adult while on campus. As a community of caring parents coupled with our dedicated faculty and staff, I’m confident we will be successful addressing bullying if we continue to communicate and work together.