THE PROBLEM OF SCHOOL BULLIES: WHAT THE RESEARCH TELLS US, by Lee a. Beaty and Erick B. Alexeyev.
In their article Lee and Erick discuss literary works of different scholars on bullying done over the years, from direct bullying, verbal bullying to physical bullying. They emphasise the importance of schools’ determining the extent of bullying and taking steps to curb it. Research shows that a school’s intervention significantly reduces bullying, which if not addressed has lifelong consequences to both the bully and the victim. Their article looks at what form of intervention works best and suitable programs that will deal effectively with the problem.
Lee & Erick give a historical overview of research on bullying from different countries, schools in Scandinavian countries, for example, Norway, begun to take a keen interest in the matter after three boys committed suicide in 1982 due to severe bullying. The suicides led to research whose findings were that out of 140,000 students from 715 schools, 6% were bullies, and 94% classified as victims. England followed suit in 1987 where researchers Stephenson and Smith from their samples found that 10% were bullies, 7% victims of bullies and 6% were both bullies and victims. The article meticulously analyses findings of various researchers from different countries, from the age of the victims to the number of times subjects were bullied.
In their article they look at all aspects surrounding bullying, different articles have varying opinions on the gender of bullies, and there is no agreed consensus; however, the victims of bullies are thought to be mainly boys. They also find that bullies, bully their peers and bullying occurs in younger age groups. Lee & Erick also look at the types of bullying, where bullying occurs, the motivation for bullying and the profiles of both bullies and their victims. In the types of bullying the most common was reported to be teasing and name calling which graduates to physical harm such as hitting and kicking, boys were found to be more violent.
From analysing different literature, they discover that the main motivation for a bully is to pick on the shortcomings of the victim, which are either emotional, physical, social or academic, this explains why children with special needs top the list of victims. They quote a study that shows familial factors may lead to bullying, for example, a family that uses physical forms in disciplining.
When looking at the profile of victims, the analysis showed that they are smaller in stature, sensitive and withdrawn, the weaker the victim, the harder it is for them to retaliate. On the contrary, bullies are loud, aggressive, temperamental and hostile. The article also looks at the responses to bullying and the findings are that there is almost never a response, and if there is any response, it is not enough. When looking at the perception of teachers of bullying Lee and Erick find that they were not aware of the prevalence. The psychological and physical outcome of bullying is depression, a lack of social acceptance and health problems such as headaches and insomnia.
In concluding they discuss the modes of intervention, for instance developing an anti-bullying curriculum, carrying out surveys to determine the level of bullying and formulating a plan from the findings with an aim to address the issue. They end the article stating that the real solution to end bullying requires a multi-faceted approach involving all stakeholders, the parents, school officials, community and the students.