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Bullying in school is a vice and a social problem in the school and to the community. It is a worldwide problem that leaves negative consequences to the victims and for the general school climate and for the right of the students to learn in a safe environment without any fear. It and have long term effects to both for students who bully and for their victims. Bullying comprises of the direct behaviors such as hitting, threatening, taunting, teasing and stealing that are initiated by one or more students against their victims. It can also be more indirect by causing the victims to be socially isolated through intentional exclusion which is meant to punish the victims. Boys engage in direct bullying while girls use indirect strategies such as spreading and enforcing social isolation, actions which meant to indirectly intimidate their victim/victims. (Smith, Sharp 1994)
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Whether the bullying is direct or indirect, the key component of bullying is that the physical or psychological intimidation occurs repeatedly over time to create an ongoing pattern of harassment and abuse Students who engage in bullying behaviors seem to have a need to feel powerful and in control. They appear to derive satisfaction from inflicting injury and suffering on others, seem to have little empathy for their victims, and often defend their actions by saying that their victims provoked them in some way. The problem has become widespread in many schools that the students alone have created cartels and groups based on race and ethnic background, age and the level of education in which the student is in at the moment. Bullying has made some students to abandon some learning institutions because of the bad experience they went through when they were there (Rigby, 1996)
In some schools, it has been difficult to contain bullying as the teachers and the school administration has totally failed to involve themselves in controlling it. The students are acting like criminals at school with the full knowledge of the teachers. The students are using the bullying tactics by imitating what they watch in movies and then practice it on other innocent students who are unable to defend themselves. Even though the bullying cases are reported to the school administration, they are treated as mere rumors and so not given much attention as expected. This has facilitated its fast spread as no action is being taken to contain it
Studies indicate that bullies often come from homes where physical punishment is used, where the children are taught to strike back physically as a way to handle problems, and where parental involvement and warmth are frequently lacking. Students who regularly display bullying behaviors are generally defiant or oppositional toward adults, antisocial, and apt to break school rules. In contrast to prevailing myths, bullies appear to have little anxiety and to possess strong self-esteem. There is little evidence to support the contention that they victimize others because they feel bad about themselves (Smith, Sharp 1994)
The parents of the bullies have also facilitated the bullying because they do not believe that their children are bullies once they have been told. Instead, they say that their children are being accused of some criminal activity which they did not do. They are always defensive and they do not even try to find out whether what they have been told is true or false. This gives the student bullies an opportunity to continue with the bullying as they have the support of their parents. The lukewarm attention from the school administration on the matter also gives the bullies a leeway of doing what they want as they know that they will not be punished.
The effects of bullying have been devastating. Those who have been victims of the circumstance have been psychologically traumatized forever and have developed hate to certain specific students, those who bullied them. The victims have also been hurt or harmed through the beatings and kicks. There are permanent marks on their bodies, which become a constant reminder of what was done to them and at the same time affects them negatively as the climate of hate continues to keep on recurring on the individual just at the glance of the body marks. The victims have developed low self-esteem and have taken themselves to be misfits in the school because they are isolated, insulted, intimidated and beaten by other students. This has adversely affected their academic performance and has constantly instilled fear in them as they know that any time they are going to be bullied (Duke, Telljohann 2003)
There are incidents where bullying has resulted in the death of the student. The bullying can be so ruthless that it can kill or make the victim to be deformed and most of these cases have ended up in courts and some have been jailed and in the process become criminals while in detention. It has forced the school administration to suspend the bullies from their school and has even sent letters to the neighboring school notifying not to admit certain individuals to their schools because of their bullying behaviors. This has ended careers of the bullies who in the long run turn to the street where they become hard-core criminals. This has now made it become a community problem as the bullies are no longer in school but out there in the community, making life difficult for other law abiding citizens. This has sent fears among the people in the community of Florida and has now forced them to look for the best alternatives of containing bullying firstly in schools before it spreads down to the community (Smith, Sharp 1994)
As school bullying became rampant, it now became necessary for the community of Florida to come up with measures which could help in solving it, and these included; Conducting community training and mobilization sessions so as to bring to the attention of the people that school bullying exists, its origin and effects. There are those who believe that it is rumors until their children have been victims, then that they can believe. There was the need to meet the parents of the bullies discuss with them on this issue and so the community arranged for a counselor to talk to the parents and the children (bullies) on the negative impact of bullying and how they should stop it. The community also took the matter to the schools to complain that bullying was rampant in schools and so they had to take action very fast as their children were suffering from bullying and some were turning slowly to becoming criminals (Smith, 2000)
With the 2008 passage of the Jeffrey Johnston Stand Up for All Students anti-bullying law in Florida, schools are mandated to implement bullying prevention policies and programs. This initiative will provide the resources for Florida schools to implement an evidence-based bullying prevention program that has proven results. The Florida Association of School Administrators (FASA) will provide assistance to schools through the Florida Bullying Prevention Initiative. This initiative will pay for program materials and training for two to six schools per district or consortium to implement the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) Up to twenty-five (25) schools will be awarded in February 2009, with the goal of committing more funds to award additional schools in 2009 and 2010. Applications received now will be considered for this first cadre of schools, or may be considered for later funding, if available. (www.olweus.org)
The children who had bee bullied were identified, counseled and assured of their safety after the school's administration assured the community that they were going to take up the matter on a serious note. Another important factor in reducing bullying in increasing the pupils' willingness to report to teachers, an apparent relationship between the pupils' perception of the extent to which staff intervened to prevent bullying and a decrease in bullying activity, and a suggested association between increased pupil confidence and satisfaction with the school and a decline in bullying (Sharp, Smith ,1995)
The methods of dealing with the problem to determine if things are improving or the individuals and the community could include conducting the counseling sessions to both the bullies and the victims on a regular basis and then make a follow-up find out whether there is any progress or not. The bullies can also be taken to rehabilitation centers for behavioral and moral modeling and then be monitored closely to find out if there is any improvement or if they are continuing with their bullying hobby. If there are acceptable changes, the reformed children could then be taken back to school and continue with their studies and at the same time the other children have to be assured that the bullies had reformed and were now good people like them and could mix freely with them This needs concerted efforts of all those that are going to be involved in ending bullying in schools. (Sharp, Smith, 1995)
A teenage girl has sued her private, all-girls Catholic school, claiming it allowed bullying to spread from the classroom to online social networks. The lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Circuit Court against Our Lady of Lourdes Academy, the Archdiocese of Miami and Archbishop John Favalora. According to the filing, the victim, whose name was not included in the lawsuit, was verbally and physically taunted at school by classmates and that the harassment eventually moved online to where she was allegedly targeted with a ``hate page.'' That site allegedly broadcast a threat to ``kill the flea,'' referring to the victim. Both the defendant and a spokeswoman for the archdiocese, Mary Ross Agosta, say there was a meeting at the school between the accused bullies and the alleged victim. Agosta says the bullies were suspended for their actions, but the lawsuit claims the harassment continued and included threats of harm to retaliate for reporting the behavior. The suit claims a nun at the school saw the victim cornered by the alleged bullies but did nothing to stop them. The girl eventually dropped out of the school.
Our Lady of Lourdes has an anti-bullying policy that Agosta said was followed.
The plaintiff is seeking more than $15,000 in damages and claims she is suicidal and suffers from flashbacks and anxiety (http://www.pacerteensagainstbullying.org)
Bullying is a serious problem that can dramatically affect the ability of students to progress academically and socially. A comprehensive intervention plan that involves all students, parents and school staff is required to ensure that all students can learn in a safe
and fear-free environment. The incidence of violent and antisocial behavior is high both in the schools and their surrounding areas, and students in the schools usually lacked the confidence to report bullying incidents. There should be a consultation process with staff and students to facilitate communication between school members to assist in putting the preventive program into practice.
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