Bullying and The Human Rights Education Center of Utah
Since 1999 HREC has been addressing the problem of juvenile bullying. Bullying, a form of violence, is common in Utah's school yards, neighborhoods, buses and homes. School bullying is coming under scrutiny from parents, the public, law enforcement and our elected officials. HREC was instrumental in getting a Utah Anti-Bullying Resolution passed in the 2006 legislative session . (To read the resolution go to mybully.org ). This resolution sends a clear message that bullying behaviors will not be tolerated in Utah schools.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is an imbalance of power , with the more powerful child or group attacking those who are less powerful. Bullying takes three forms:
( Verbal and Psychological are often accomplished in cyberspace with email, chat rooms or through texting messages).
All three forms of bullying can include taunting, making threats, name calling, social exclusion, extortion and intimidation. Physical bullying can include hitting, spitting, the taking of personal belongings, or sexual aggression.
The most prevalent locations for acts of bullying are the lunchroom, the bathrooms, the play yard, on the bus or on a walk home.
Bullying begins in elementary school, peaks in grades sixth through eight and persist into high school. And, if youthful bullying is not curtailed, his/her bullying behaviors will continue in their adulthood.
Effects of Bullying
Researchers have estimated that 1.6 million children grades 6 through 10 in the United States are bullied at least once a week. The effects of bullying are many times devastating at worst, tolerated at best. Bullying has long-term effects on both those who bully and those who are bullied. Victims of bullying develop a real fear of going to school resulting not only in insecurity and loss of self-esteem, but in untold rises in absenteeism. A study by The National Institute of Child Health found that both the bully and the bullied are at greater risk of loneliness, lack of success in school and becoming involved in drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Tragically, many victims of bullying form anti-social behaviors, and can then become the perpetrators of the same behaviors that were previously inflicted on them. The greater percentage of “school shooters” had long suffered being the target of bullies. In addition, the prevalence of youth committing suicide due to long-term bullying has created the term “Bullycide”.
HREC teaches Education and Intervention
Any successful anti-bullying program has to begin with education. Parents, students, teachers, administrators, school staff and local community members need to know how to identify bullying and learn how destructive it can become to children. Education is the key to raising awareness about bullying. There must be the establishment of clear rules against bullying, and every adult must learn how to intervene in bullying behaviors. Anti-bullying messages and education must be consistent and ongoing.Tools must be implemented that include anonymous surveys to determine the prevalence of bullying in the school, increased staff supervision, and school-wide education about bullying. The anti-bullying rules that have been established must be enforced , and students should be given a forum to discuss bullying. In addition, students must have a safe and anonymous way to report bullying behaviors. Canada and Australia have proven that with vigilant application of these steps, bullying can be completely eradicated in a school. The goal is to change the entire culture of the school with a comprehensive anti-bullying program.
Bully-Free Schools are possible!
BULLYING PREVENTION TIPS FOR KIDS
If You Are Being Harassed
Talk to your parents or an adult you can trust, such as a teacher, school counselor, or principal. If the first adult you approach is not receptive, find another adult who will support and help you. There is someone who you can trust.
It's not useful to blame yourself for a bully's actions. If bullies know they are getting to you, they are likely to torment you more. If at all possible, stay calm, say nothing and walk away. Act confident. Hold your head up, stand up straight, make eye contact, and walk confidently. A bully will be less likely to single you out if your project self-confidence.
Try to make friends with other students. A bully is more likely to leave you alone if you are with your friends. This is especially true if you and your friends stick up for each other.
Avoid situations where bullying can happen. If at all possible, avoid being alone with bullies. Be with someone when you walk home or use the restroom.
Do not resort to violence or carry a gun or other weapon. Carrying a gun will not make you safer.
If Someone Else is Being Harassed
Refuse to join in if you see someone being bullied.
If you can do so without risk to your own safety, get a teacher, parent, or other responsible adult to come help immediately.
Speak up and/or offer support to bullied teens when you witness bullying. If you feel you cannot do this at the time, privately support those being hurt with words of kindness or condolence later. Encourage them to tell someone.
Always report harassment, even if it is anonymously.
About Cyber-Harassment Victims of cyber-harassment can be reached anytime and anyplace and often they do not know the perpetrator. Damage done by cyberbullies is equal to other forms of harassment. Some protective tips are:
Make your user name and online profile anonymous.
Don't open or read mail by cyberbullies.
Don't erase messages and show them to an adult you trust.
If you are threatened with harm, ask and adult to help you call the police .