Bullying/Harassment and School Climate

Bullying and harassment impact the whole child including their academic, social-emotional, and physical well being. According to the American Psychological Association, children who are bullied are more likely to drop out or avoid school, may experience depression due to low self-esteem, and are prone to suicide. Therefore, it is imperative that school climate and culture support students by providing staff support and intervention strategies, engage students in academics, and provide student autonomy to empower students to be involved in their school community.

Bullying and harassment influence the entire school environment. It alters behavior management systems, which interrupts learning and instruction. There are various reasons bullying occurs. Specific groups of children have been known to be targeted such as LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) students and students with disabilities. According to the American Psychological Association, “Students with disabilities are subjected to more bullying, physical abuse, verbal abuse and social rejection than other students.”

To protect students from being targeted victims, adults in the organization must advocate for their students’ needs. Effective leaders provide teachers, support staff, students, and parents with professional development opportunities that focus on anti-bullying programs. Character education is also integrated into class curriculum based on school norms that do not tolerate bullying and harassment. Guest speakers can also be utilized to introduce students to individuals who have differences to build tolerance for others.

You can visit the link provided to read more about recommendations made by the American Psychological Association to include the following bills under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act including: Academic Social and Emotional Learning Act, Achievement through Prevention Act, and the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

http://www.apa.org/about/gr/issues/cyf/bullying-school-climate.aspx

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2 responses to “Bullying/Harassment and School Climate

  1. The recognition of bullying within our educational system is only the first step to creating viable solutions. The understanding that many of the avoidance behaviors we see in our student population are rooted in the mistreatment of these individuals by their peer group is growing. This withdrawal from the institution is in itself is an attempt for that individual to protect themselves. Over the past decade I have seen many initiatives aimed at recognizing bullying behavior, creating awareness in the public and attempting to shift the culture to one of empathy, acceptance and respect for all. I would say that these efforts have failed. This model relies on the ability to change the attitudes of the masses and the nature of less socially enlightened portions of our society through guest speakers, slogans and propaganda aimed at provoking empathy. This does need to be done for the betterment of our society however during the interim many innocent individuals are being victimized, marginalized and forced out of “the system”.
    It is my belief that an alternative settings needs to be created for these marginalized individuals. I would like to see the creation of safe educational havens for socially victimized students where they can develop without fear. We are no longer allowed to remove students that make it their daily goal to disrupt education and victimize those they view as weak or different perhaps we can allow others the opportunity to select and qualify for a setting that better meets their preferred learning environment.

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  2. Pingback: Final thoughts about the situation of bullying | Organizational and Institutional Change·

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