Question of the Week

April 14, 2003

Targets of bullying would like it to stop. Bullies have reasons that they are bullying that need to be dealt with. Let's say you are one of the many students out there who is not a bully and is not getting bullied. How does this affect you?

"Bullying may be a part of many people's childhood experiences, but the practice is not normal and it is not harmless, according to a team of Bethesda, Maryland researchers....'Bullying should not be considered "normal" behavior among youth. It is socially abusive behavior, and is associated with involvement in other kinds of problem behavior,' lead study author Dr. Tonja R. Nansel, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development told Reuters Health."

"New research from the Secret Service and the U.S. Department of Education on 37 school shootings, including Columbine, found that almost three-quarters of student shooters felt bullied, threatened, attacked or injured by others....Indeed says Limber, 'Bullying is a very common experience for kids in school' and more widespread than previously thought....In the study, psychologist Tonja R. Nansel, PhD, and colleagues found that 17 percent of students reported having been bullied 'sometimes' or more frequently during the school term. About 19 percent reported bullying others 'sometimes' or more often. And six percent reported both bullying and having been bullied."

"Maybe in comparison to school shootings like the one at Columbine High School, being bullied doesn't seem all that important. But if you've ever been bullied, you know that's not the truth. Bullying can change everything for you."

"No one wants to rat on someone, but your safety has to be your first priority."

Bullies have reasons for bullying that they need to deal with before the bullying will stop. Those that are the targets of bullies need to learn ways to deal with this painful situation in a safe and healthy way. This is all easier said than done.

While bullying is a problem for many (either as bullies or targets), some students see it only as something that affects the lives of others. It is something they may see at school or in the neighborhood, but not something that they experience from either side.

Questions of the Week:
What can those who are not directly involved do to help stop the problem? How can these students help targets get help, and how can they help create a school environment where bullying is not tolerated? While there is the temptation not to get involved, how can these students get involved in a constructive way that will create a safer and healthier school environment for everyone.

Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.

I look forward to reading what you have to say.

Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum

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