Bullied Students
Someone Being Bullied
Male | Athens, GA   United States
Back to school is no fun for bullied students
Bullying Type: Physical / Emotional
Posted By: Koncepts
8/20/13 11:31 AM
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Many children are looking forward to returning to school this week from summer vacation. They’ll renew ties with schoolmates, show off new wardrobes, and participate in educational challenges and another season of sports.

Some students, though, are dreading the experience.

They are the children who, for whatever reason, attract the unwanted attention of school bullies.

“Any child who is perceived as being different is at risk," said Dawn Myers, Clarke County School District’s director of school social work.

“It can be anything, from being overweight or too thin, wearing glasses, having low self-esteem or being a child with special needs,” she said.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics and Department of Health and Human Services, 37 percent of secondary school students experience bullying. Most of the bullying, about 85 percent, occurs during school hours.

Bullying takes various forms, and most of the time does not rise to the level of criminal activity.

School officials are more concerned with the emotional toll on students constantly picked on.

“It’s the anticipatory fear that makes bullying bad, not what happens in the moment,” Myers said. “It leads to depression, anxiety, changes in eating and sleep patterns, a loss of interest in activities, psychosomatic symptoms, and decreased attendance and academic performance.”

In extreme cases, a bullying victim may commit suicide or at least consider it.

Bullying is generally defined as repeated aggressive behavior intended to hurt another physically or mentally. It could include hitting, kicking and spitting, verbal attacks, and exclusion from social groups. Bullying can also involve spreading false rumors, instigating fights, coercing someone to do something they don’t want to do, making racially or sexually inappropriate comments, and cyber bullying.

According to experts, bullying takes place in an imbalanced relationship, where one person has power over the other either by physical strength or status among their peers.

The problem has only grown with the prevalence of social media and mobile data devices like smartphones and iPads. There’s even a term for using social media as a tool for tormenting others: cyber bullying.

“What’s so hard about this day and age is that with cyber bullying, instead of a child being subjected to bullying ... while at school, now it can go on 24 hours a day,” said Kim Turner, a counselor at Hilsman Middle School.

School districts across the state are taking bullying more seriously.

In the Clarke County School District, under its Code of Student Conduct, students are subject to long-term suspension or expulsion for three or more instances of bullying in a school year. However, the same punishment can me meted out for a single act of severe bullying.

The school district each year trains faculty and staff on bullying, and conducts awareness programs for students. It utilizes such outside resources as the University of Georgia’s College of Education’s Safe and Welcoming Schools project.

The school system in 2009 embraced “Hands are Not for Hitting,” a program developed by Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General C.R. Chisholm designed to address bullying behavior early on. It uses an activity book and puppet show to teach kindergartners and first-graders non-violent conflict resolution skills.

Different schools in the district have developed their own anti-bullying initiatives.

Whit Davis Elementary School, for example, has the Bully Blockers Club and Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School offers specific professional development on bullying.

Hilsman Middle School holds an annual “Pink Out Day,” which sprang from an incident in Canada in which a male student was bullied for wearing pink. Nearly the entire school body showed its support and disdain for bullying by wearing pink the next day.

Because the school’s officials have been particularly proactive, Hilsman last spring was certified as a “No Place for Hate” school by the Anti Defamation League.

“A lot of what we do is just going to classrooms and talk with students,” Turner said. “We’ve hit cyber bullying really hard because its so much easier to go online to do their bullying rather than face-to-face.”

Myers said that parents should encourage their children to foster more friendships at school because students who feel socially isolated are more at risk of getting bullied.

And parents must be attuned to their children’s behavior after they come home from school.

“Bullying thrives in silence and the message parents need to know is that school is a safe place to come when they identify risk factors or indicators,” Meyers said. “Kids want to handle things on their own because they don’t want to be perceived as weak, but we need the support of parents to bring it to our attention when they see their children crying or are scared to go to school.”

At the beginning of the school year, parents should use the opportunity to connect with their child’s school counselor, teachers, administrators and others so they know who to call for help should problems arise later in the year, Meyers said.

“We are here and ready to listen and take action,” she said.

School officials encourage students to get involved and try to instill a feeling of responsibility to look out for each other.

“When bystanders step in and tell bullies, ‘We don’t treat people like that,’ 50-percent of bullying stops. That’s huge,” Meyers said.

For more information on bullying and cyber safety, visit www.coe.uga.edu/sws, www.stopbullying.gov, www.adl.org/npfh, or www.netsmartz.org/Parents.

Parents who have concerns about bullying should contact their child’s school.


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Posted By: TimesOfMyLife | 8/20/13 12:17 PM
I'm glad school districts are taking bullying a lot more serious.
Posted By: LarsGerbersFF | 8/22/13 1:03 PM
Me too, I have nieces and nephews that I'm worried about after reading thru this site.
Posted By: CrazyChrisSoto | 8/20/13 1:13 PM
I hope they can come to some kind of solution regarding this terrible epidemic.
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Name: Bullied Students
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Country: United States
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