Bullying is an act of aggression toward an individual perceived weaker than the person or persons committing the acts of bullying. For many individuals, bullying has long been accepted as a rite of passage, a lesson learned in growing up, a painful reminder that someone is always better, stronger, or smarter than another (Hirsch, Lowen, & Santorelli, 3). One has to ask why that is allowed to continue to happen when nothing good comes out of the bullying for the bully or the individuals bullied. The situation is complicated because the bully is often damaged by a number of social, economic, educational, emotional, psychological, and physical issues that cause them to take their anger out on others. The emotional growth of a child is largely the responsibility of the parents, meaning what happens in the home reflects in the behavior of the child in public. The child who has a stable home life will be secure in who they are and treat others with the respect and consideration fostered in their homes. When a child grows up fearful of their parents, living with criticism, overbearing parents, and even abuse in the home, the child has to release the traumatic feelings and often does so in the form of bullying.
The problem many find common in victims of excessive bullying is to take the abuse they receive out on someone else. This happens more frequently in the form of school shootings (Klein). In the United States, several school shooting events have happened taking the lives of innocent victims and causing great fear and further trauma in the lives of the victims. The pain that the bullies and their victims feel is often too great to deal with on their own and if their home is not a safe place to seek help, then the child feels they have little choice but to lash out (Klein).
Schools have begun to look at preventative measures to address bullying but it may not be enough to bring the topic out in discussion. The students who have bullied others will not suddenly raise their hands to seek help. The act of appearing weak asking for help is counter to what they do to seek release of their anger. A better solution would be to have the students receive an individual visit with a psychologist. While this may be an expensive option to address bullying, it would have multiple benefits as it can offer the students an opportunity to seek help in whatever issue the child currently deals with causing them stress. A child bullied could receive assistance in the school setting to deal with the problem as well as the child doing the bullying. Since all students receive the mandatory psychological visit each month, students that identified as a bully can receive some assistance on that issue while digging deeper into why the child acts out in the manner of bullying. The student can discuss their pressing issues; receive tools and outside assistance to deal with their issues if it requires more time to address properly.
It is not enough to tell a student to stop bullying (Twemlow & Sacco). Few students will want to step into the middle of a bullying situation, as the violence tends to turn towards them. For all practical purposes, telling students, that bullying is not nice or acceptable is inefficient. The students already know that bullying is not nice. Students already know that bullying hurts. Students doing the bullying already know that they bully because they hurt. The problem is not making it known that bullying is not good, but to address the issues the children have that caused the bullying and those hurt by bullying.
There will be a considerable amount of fear in the parents when presented with the idea that students should receive psychological counseling in schools, particularly high school. Some parents might disagree that this is the way to prevent bullying because they are maybe scared that children will talk about something that the parents do not want school to know about. For example domestic violence, maybe father of that child is abusing his/her mother.
The mother may not want anybody to know about the abuse in the home and she does not want to or cannot leave him without fear of worsening violence. In addition, you might have parents that do not like psychologist and they do not think their children need any help. They are perfect the way they are. They also might not want their children to see a psychologist because they do not have enough money. However, the cost of dealing with the effects of bullying and the after effects when the abuser and victim act out is significantly cheaper in preventative costs versus aftermath. The evidence is present that the current manner of dealing with bullying is not effective and highly expensive when you consider the costs of lives, dealing with the aftermath of deaths including the costs of multiple burials and survivor counseling.
The counseling the students receive would remain confidential and interventions put in place if the situation requires it. The students would benefit from the ability to confide in the psychologist about bullying issues as well as other issues that cause students to make decisions on how to deal with stressors that have a negative effect on their development, such as drugs, alcohol, sex, and other behaviors.
- Hirsch, Lee, Cynthia Lowen, Dina Santorelli. Bully: an action plan for teachers and parents to combat the bullying crisis. New York :Weinstein Books. 2012. Print.
- Klein, Jessie. The bully society: school shootings and the crisis of bullying in America’s schools. New York: New York University Press. 2012.Print.
- Twemlow, Stuart W. and Frank C. Sacco. Preventing bullying and school violence. Washington, DC :American Psychiatric Pub. 2012.