Bullying and Harassment: A Legal Guide for Educators

By Kathleen Conn | Go to book overview

Introduction

FOR MANY ADULTS, THE MOST VIVID MEMORY FROM THEIR FORMER SCHOOL days involves a distinctly unpleasant incident or situation, with a bully often at the heart of the memory. Some adults may remember being the victim of a bully. Some may recall feeling forced to stand silently by while a good friend or a weaker colleague was the victim. Still others, a very small number of adults, may reflect with remorse that they were, indeed, the bullies who tormented and terrorized their schoolmates.

Bullying, however, has more far-reaching ramifications than simply contributing to unpleasant childhood memories. Many researchers have documented the association of bullying with other antisocial behaviors. The pioneering research of Dan Olweus in Norway and Sweden in the late 1980s and early 1990s documented that 60 percent of boys identified as bullies in grades 6-9 had at least one criminal conviction by age 24. Of these former middle school bullies, 35-40 percent were convicted of three or more serious crimes by their mid-twenties (Olweus, 1993). After Olweus' initial studies, bullying in schools soon began to receive attention in Japan, England, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, and the United States. The National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2004), a division of the Centers for Disease Control, cites bullying or being bullied as a [risk factor] for youth violence. An April 2003 report published by researchers from the National

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