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					Bullying in the School Environment

        Assignment Two

         Ruth Yirgalem

        Professor C. Jones

         March 3rd 2011

       Bullying comes in many forms. From verbal, physical to emotional, the recipient of

this abuse is made to feel vulnerable, weak and afraid. It usually involves repeated acts of

abuse over time in an attempt to enforce an imbalance of power over another and it is often

strategic. Most bullying occurs in the school environment, starting from as early as

kindergarten. Unfortunately, bullying does not dissolve with age. It carries on into high

school and can take a toll on an individual’s self-esteem and confidence for the rest of their

life. The aftermath of bullying differs from person to person, and can range from one

extreme to another. The side effects of bullying are indeed harmful, there is no denying that,

but to what extent and to what degree is the question that needs to be answered. This research

paper will focus heavily on bullying that occurs amongst children and teenagers in their

school environment. I will discuss the different forms of bullying and how often it occurs,

the traumatizing effects bullying can have on a victim, and a communication strategy to help

aid and shed more light on this issue.

How Often Does Bullying Occur?

       The Honorable Marvin A. ZUKER, Ontario Court of Justice defines bullying in his

paper regarding Bullying, School Violence and Youth Crime as “the tendency for some

children to frequently oppress, harass or intimidate other children, verbally, physically or
both, in and out of school” with repeated and systematic harassment and attacks on others.

The occurrence of this type of abuse happens more frequently than many like to believe. A

2004 study conducted by the Government of Alberta found that bullying occurs once every

seven minutes on the playground and once every 25 minutes in the classroom. It also showed

that about one in seven Canadian children aged 11 to 16 are victims of bullying. According

to an international study done for Health Canada (1999) found that 56% of boys and 40% of

girls in grades 6 and 8 admitted that they had bullied someone that year; 43% of boys and

35% of girls said they had been targets of bullying.

       Another study conducted by the University of British Columbia reveals just how

common bullying is in schools. Using a sample group based on 490 students (half female,

half male) in Grades 8-10, the study showed staggering results. 64% of kids admitted they

have been victims to bullies at school while 12% said it occurred on a regular basis (once or

more a week). Perhaps the most shocking finding from this study is that 64% of students

considered bullying a normal part of school life and felt it was not a serious matter.

       The internet has also become a gold mine for bullies to attack their victims. The term

to describe this type is abuse is called Cyber bullying and it refers to the use of

communication technologies to physically threaten, verbally harass or socially exclude an

individual or group. Students use popular social networking sites such as Facebook, and

MySpace to harass and abuse their victims. A poll released by the Canadian Teachers
Federation in 2008 revealed that more than one third of Canadians know of a kid who has

been bullied online in the last year and 20% knew of a teacher who had been cyber bullied.

       A national survey done by Kids Help Phone between Dec. 20, 2006, and Jan. 20,

2007 revealed prevalent findings. More than 70 per cent of teens between the ages of 13 to

15 reported that they have been bullied online, while 44 per cent said they have bullied

someone online. The report says 76 per cent of respondents reported being called names and

being made to feel bad, while 52 per cent reported having rumors spread about them and 38

per cent reported being threatened or scared. Of the methods used, 77 per cent reported being

bullied by instant messaging, 37 per cent by e-mail and 31 per cent on social networking

sites, such as MySpace and Facebook.Cyber bullying is a growing epidemic throughout

Canadian schools and is very hard to discipline because of the anonymity of the internet.
How Does Bullying Affect the Victim?

       The experience of being bullied can end up causing lasting damage to the victims.

This is both self-evident, and also supported by an increasing body of research. Studies found

that victimized children are at risk for a variety of negative outcomes: They are more anxious

and insecure (Olweus, 1991); have lower self-esteem (Craig, 1998), are lonely, (Boulton &

Underwood, 1992), are more likely to be rejected by their peers, and are depressed (Craig,

1998) than non-victimized children. Some short term effects Victims of bullying may

experience are anger, depression, anxious avoidance of school, and lower grades. Long term

effects may include reduced occupational opportunities, lingering feelings of anger and

bitterness, desire for revenge, difficulty trusting people, and self-esteem issues.

       As we are starting to witness more these days, the effects of bullying are far reaching

and can sometimes end in extremely tragic circumstances. According to a study done by

Yale University, Bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than

non-victims and that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying. An

example of this is the tragic suicide of Pheobe Prince, who committed suicide at the tender

age of 15 after an onslaught of cyber-bullying from fellow students.


       The study conducted by the University of Alberta sheds light on how often bullying

occurs in the school environment. With findings that reveal that bullying occurs once every

seven minutes on the playground and once every 25 minutes in the classroom, it raises the

question of why this is being able to occur so often. Bullies are usually outnumbered, but
when bystanders choose to turn the other way and allow for the bullying to occur, they

enable the aggressor, giving them more power. The survey done by Kids Help Phone showed

that 72 percent of teens have observed bullying at school at least once in a while and in the

majority of cases, bullying stops within 10 seconds when peers intervene, or do not support

the bullying behavior. When fellow students object to that kind of behavior, it changes the

whole dynamic of the situation. The bully will then feel outnumbered and feel inferior.

       With the immense popularity of the internet amongst teens, the statistics show a

staggering rise in cyber bullying throughout the years. Cyber bullies no longer have to be

physically present to harm their victims, they can log onto popular social networking sites

and spew gossip and hate in a matter of seconds to millions of people. This is a critical issue

because the victims have no way to escape their aggressors to seek solace and isolation.

Also, bullies do not need to identify who they are on the internet to bully their target, they

can hide behind anonymity. Even when the victim speaks up about cyber bullying, the

school’s hands are often tied. Unless it crosses the line into death threats or other criminal

offences or there is clear evidence the material is being sent from a school computer, the

school may not have grounds to prosecute the aggressor.

       The correlation between suicide and bullying brings forth findings that need to be

taken seriously. Bully victims who are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide, and girls

aged 10-14 may be at an even higher risk according to the study done by Yale University.
The study shows that teens are most vulnerable to bullying during transitions from

elementary to high school. Teens resorting to suicide shed light on the lack of proactive

prevention on suicide. Those who choose this route feel as though their situation will not

improve and the only way to escape their pain is to take their own life. They should not have

to feel as though they have they have exhausted all their options, bullying should not be

tolerated in the school environment.

       Bullying has definitely evolved over time. With the popularity of the internet, the

bully has been given another highway to antagonize their victims leaving them feeling

cornered and alone. In order to help prevent bullying, I have come up with a few different

strategic approaches to help aid the fight against bullying in schools. Anti-bullying material

can be incorporated into the school curriculum. Schools can ask students to sign a pledge that

states that they will not participate in bullying like behaviour. School officials can also set up

self-esteem workshops and seminars for all students as a way to build up confidence and

togetherness. Another way to spread the message across is to use the very tool that enabled

bullies to torment their victims with a click of a mouse; the internet. With the use of popular

networking sites such as Facebook, twitter and MySpace, the anti-bullying message can be

spread worldwide. We cannot eliminate bullying overnight, but a collective and practical

approach can help in the fight.
                                          Works Cited

Boulton, M. J. &Underwood, K.. (1992). Bully/victim problems among middle school children.
      British Journal of Educational Psychology, 62, 73-87.

‘’Bullying and Victimization Among Canadian School Children.’’ Health Resources and Skills
Development Canada. Web.28 Feb 2011.

Bullying, School Violence and Youth Crime, Honorable Marvin A. ZUKER, Ontario

      Court of Justice.

Canadian Children's Rights Council. Virtual Library, Resource Centre, Archives and Advocacy.
Web. 26 Feb 2011.

Craig, W. (1998). The relationship among aggression types, depression, and anxiety in bullies,
       victims, and bully/victims. Personality and Individual Differences, 24, 123-130.

Olweus, D. (1991). Bully/victim problems among school children. The development and
       treatment of childhood aggression, (pp.411-438). Hillsdale, N.J.: Erlbaum.

Teachers against Cyberbullying,” Education International. Web. 26 Feb 2011.
‘’What is Bullying?’’ Government of Alberta. Web. 28 Feb 2011.

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