Academic journal article Education

School Leadership and Counselors Working Together to Address Bullying

Academic journal article Education

School Leadership and Counselors Working Together to Address Bullying

Article excerpt

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) (2010, August), U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences published report about one third (32%) of middle and high school students are physically bullied and over half (59%) are verbally bullied. According to their report bullying is increasing. Elementary school students are not included in this report. Bullying activity increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and begins to decline in high school, thus, the statistics above are probably conservative (Bradshaw, Sawyer, & O'Brennan, 2009).

Reports of deaths resulting from bullying has led to a sense of alarm that spurred at least forty-five states to enact laws to address bullying or harassment in school (Duncan, 2010; US Department of Education (2010). The federal government has paid particular attention to reported bullying based on race, color, national origin, sex or disability (Ali, 2010). If a school does not address bullying that is know, or about which school personnel should have know, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) can withhold federal funds (Ali, 2010).

As we can see, bullying has been addressed on state and national levels. On the local level, system and school administrators have developed policies to address school safety, including bullying (US Department of Education, 2010). These policies are important and all school personnel should be familiar with them, yet even with national, state, local and school laws and policies bullying is continuing in schools (Briggs, 2012). Lerman (2010) suggests looking at state and local school district regulations to insure new policies align with existing federal policies.

Many articles have been written recommending interventions for parents, teachers, school systems, communities and legal systems (Allen, 2010; Bauman, Rigby, & Hoppa, 2008; Blank, et al., 2010; Chibbaro, 2007; Crawford, 2002; Packman, Lepkowski, Overton, & Smaby, 2004; Rowan, 2007; Scarpaci, 2006). For example, Blank et al. (2010) reviewed 32 articles on bullying and found many programs and interventions, but little research on how effective they were. Likewise the Harvard Mental Health Letter for September, 2009 stated that the effectiveness of programs was not clear because they were so varied and inadequately documented. They recommended long term interventions and changing school climate. Farrington and Ttofi (2009) reviewed 44 school programs and found that bullying decreased an average of 20%-23% and victimization 17%-20% while the programs were under study, but no long term effects were studied. Based on their recommendations, school policies should be implemented consistently over time and evaluated regularly.

School programs and policies can be effective if all adults in the school, faculty and staff, take a stand against bullying (Barboza, et al. (2009). The attitude that bullying is a rite of passage cannot continue (Briggs, 2012). To create an atmosphere where all adults support school policies; school personnel need support, resources, and professional development opportunities (O'Brennan, Bradshaw, & Sawyer, 2009; Rivers, Poteat, Noret, & Ashurst, 2009). When adults abandon passive approval and intervene for the welfare of students, school climate improves (Barboza, et al., 2009, Young, et al., 2009).

Bullying has become deadly. Students are not joking or playing around. They intend to hard the victim. In addition, victims cannot get away from the harassment, especially if it includes cyber bullying (Patchin, J.W., Hinduja, S., 2010; Snakenborg, J., Van Acker, R., & Gable, R. A., 2011; Turner, H. A., Finkelhor, D., Hamby, S.L., Shattuck, A., Ormrod, R. K., 2011; Barboza, et al., 2009). The National Center for Education Statistics (2011, August) reported that bullying takes place most often in classrooms, halls, stairways and outside on school grounds. …

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