School Bullying Paper
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In embarking on this interview, I was eager to meet with the teacher and hear her perspective on this controversial topic thats taking over schools. This interview set the foundation and got the teacher familiar with me as the counselor. It gave a quick look of œwhere do we go from here and what the client learned from their experience. The interview took place on January 21, 2013 at 2:30 pm. Our designated meeting place was Starbucks in Dallas, TX. This teacher was found through my previous school. I told the teacher that I am also a professional counseling major in a masters program taking a child & family counseling course and would like to have her agreed to a counseling interview, she said yes. We made our introductions acknowledging our commentary on the latest fashion icons, upcoming staff developments and previous guest speakers then; I quickly transitioned into the counseling session. Secondly, I told Mrs. Hastings that I was a graduate counseling student at Liberty University and that I was doing this as a requirement for my child and family counseling class.
I made it clear that if she wanted her identity kept private I could accommodate that; but only my class and the professor would read the information and there would be no identifiers. She was fine with her name being given. Tonia seemed very receptive to the counseling interview, and was hoping the session would help bring awareness to the school systems, mostly positive than negative. I told her about the voluntary nature of the interview and at anytime if she wanted to discontinue the interview we could, if she decided to continue or not, it would not affect her relationship with me or with the university. I told her if she had any questions or concerns either during the interview, or after the conclusion of the interview, she should feel free to contact me. I began the interview with discussing some of the statistics related to bullying. Researchers conducting the first nationally representative survey in the U.S. estimated that nearly six million children (or roughly 30%) in grades 6 through 10 were involved in moderate or frequent bullying (i.e., as target, bully, or both) during the school term in which they were surveyed (Nansel et al., 2001).
We were both amazed by the percentages. I asked Tonia if she had ever experienced bullying and what it meant to her? She explained, œI encountered bullying during a time when it wasnt considered bullying, but yet, surviving. Tonia said, “I went to Catholic school in Michigan. Got bullied. Told my mom. She said, hit her in the back. She will leave you alone. Next day I got bullied. I punched Sophia in the back and she ran. That was the conclusion of the story and all the drama. She was in my wedding and we are best friends today and I haven’t been bullied since. Things are definitely different for students now. I was intrigued how candid Tonia was in the beginning of the interview and I couldnt wait to hear more.
Bullying is generally defined as repeated negative actions (i.e., physical, verbal, and/or psychological) directed at a target over time, where there is a power differential (either real or perceived) between the target and the bully/bullies (Olweus, 1993; Olweus, Limber, & Mihalic, 1999). I was curious to know which gender experienced more bullying at Tonias elementary school. When I asked her, surprisingly, she said both. In doing research I found that incidence and characteristics¨boys are generally more likely to be involved in bullying as both bullies and targets, and are more likely to both engage in and be subjected to physical violence (Nansel at al., 2001; Olweus, 1993). On the other hand, girls are more prone to implement indirect or interpersonal bullying which can encompass, for example, public isolation of the target and broadcasting rumors about the target. The extensive and constant nature of bullying implies that the impact on children both short and long-term can be substantial. I have witnessed first hand the impact that bullying has had on students. Some students are able to bounce back and others are left scarred for a long period of time.
I asked Mrs. Hastings to elaborate on the impact bullying has had on her school and faculty. She explained, œmany students are traumatized how it has affected the school, close friends, and family members. Its apparent that bullying is a widespread phenomenon that consumes students well beings at school and outside in home settings. Tonia, explained how bullying outbreaks became so bad that counselors had to increase their guidance lessons in classrooms to provide students with prevention programs and methods, as well as shed light and awareness on specific dynamics of bullying. The counselors and teachers had to address the adverse impact of bullying on both targets and bullies. The answer is to educate bullies about compassion and consequences. The entire school had to take action on this issue and discuss the implications of how bullying is effecting students academic and social involvements. Their own family members can also bully adolescents in their home environments. Their parents can physically or verbally abuse them, and it creates feelings within. They can develop a lot of anger and bitterness progressively. Mrs. Hastings believed, œregardless of the impact of how many bullying situations a victim encountered, he/she cannot simply beat up the bully and end the problem.
The very nature of bullying renders victims frightful, immobilized and incapable of protecting themselves. According to bullying researcher Dan Olweus, bullying is characterized by three factors: 1) It is repetitive (not a one-time event in the hall, but a regular ongoing problem). 2) It is unwanted (not two-way teasing where both parties are having fun, but instead a situation where someone is on the receiving end of taunts and aggression). 3) It takes place in the context of a power imbalance (a bigger kid against a smaller kid, or multiple kids against a single kid, or a kid with more social capital against a kid with less social capital). This particular subject matter led to a discussion about cyber bullying, why students bully others, and what effective interventions set in place by the school system? Rachel Simmons, a former Rhodes Scholar and is the founding director of the Girls Leadership Institute, wrote an article titled Cyber bullying Is a Growing Problem.
Simmons article addressed the impact of cyber bullying in the 21st century and actions school officials and parents overlooked when they are unaware of their childs Internet activities. The increasing use of social network sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, and MySpace allows bullies to go beyond verbal bullying and into the new century to become cyber bullies. Contrary to popular belief, bullies are not more likely to have low-esteem, and are not unpopular with their peers (Olweus, et al., 1999). They are, however, more likely to have positive beliefs about the use of violence, use alcohol and other drugs, have lax parents, and have abuse histories (Limber, 2002; Olweus, et al., 1999). We conversed about how some students were concerned if the bullies were serious and capable of carrying out such threats. The million-dollar question is what are the administrators doing to lessen the problems facing all types of bullying? Since bullying takes place within a social system, mediations need to concentrate not just on individuals, but also on the system. That is, because students frequently require freedom to control their environment, systemic interventions are needed to provide a protected environment for all children.
That is, for example, these individuals may be insecure and anxious before being targeted, and these characteristics are likely to increase as a result of the bullying (Robles, 2012, p11). Contrary to popular belief, bullies are not more likely to have low-esteem, and are not unpopular with their peers (Olweus, et al., 1999). They are, however, more likely to have positive beliefs about the use of violence, use alcohol and other drugs, have lax parents, and have abuse histories (Limber, 2002; Olweus, et al., 1999). When dealing with so much adversity it is hard not to view things from a biblical standpoint. What thoughts are provoking through a bullied child or their parents? In that time we must focus on what the Bible says about bullying. Leviticus 19:18 says, œYou shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord. The Bible tells us of Esau who held a grudge against his brother Jacob (Genesis 27:41), and of Josephs brothers who hated and bullied their younger brother to such an extent that they betrayed him and sold him into slavery to Egypt. œThey hated him and could not speak a kind word to him Genesis 37:4. Tonia ended by saying that she tries to instill moral values and dignity in everyone she comes in contact with. She always taught her students to do what is right and turn the other cheek.
Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed (Isaiah 1:17) It might be a hard concept to comprehend but in the end she told them that true character and honesty would prevail. In addition, she states some preventative measures for minimizing any type of bullying is to report the incidents to a counselor, teacher or administrator. Bullying will only continue to consume a student if they allow it to. The overall interview was impactful and beneficial in so many ways. Bullying has been a fragment of schooling for as extensive as children have been assembling. To some it appears like a natural, though painful, part of life and school experience, while to others it can mean terrifying experiences, which spoiled, and characterized otherwise happy years in school. Dan Olweus, a pioneer in bully behavior research documented that 2.7 million children are affected as victims, and that 2.1 children act as bullies (Fried, 1997, as cited in Aluedse, 2006). With bullying cited as the reason for violent, gun-related crime in the past few years, school districts as well as national governments have put anti-bullying policies in place. It is important for everyone in the community to work together to send a unified message against bullying.
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