Dr. Robert E. Ratliff
November 29, 2012
Bullying happens in schools across America. It is something that has carried on forever, but only recently, has it reached heights that some people never could imagine. Kids are bullying each other daily and it causes low self-esteem on the kid that is being picked on. Bullying seems to happen because of someone’s size, race, ethnicity, and looks. A lot of people, myself included, would like to understand why this happens and what can we do to fix this kind of bullying. Today’s society is so much different from the way it was twenty to thirty years ago. We have gone from racial profiling to bullying, both becoming somewhat of an epidemic. Over the years society has changed to adapt to what we have been given and what we are presented with on a daily basis. This all starts at an early age, and all develops as we grow up. I remember when I was in school and we bully each other, but it never came to a point where someone wanted to hurt themselves and consider ending their life. Today’s young society has changed drastically in the last ten years, and it’s up to us as parents and individuals to help fix what we are presented with.
Bullying wasn’t considered a big social problem before the 1970’s. In the late seventies, Dan Olweus performed the first large scale study of bullying, and had his book published in the United States. Olweus’ study caught the attention of other researchers and ordeal became a hot topic, especially around schools. Olweus performed the first systematic intervention study that supported his findings, and in 1993, he wrote a book that is now considered the world’s leading authority on bullying behavior; Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do. This increased the awareness that bullying was a growing social problem. He felt that it should be taken seriously by researchers, educators, lawmakers, and society in general. The impact this book has today is that schools are beginning to form anti-bullying intervention and educational programs. In 2003, nearly fifteen states had passed anti-bullying laws, mainly due to the school shootings between 1997 and 2001. By 2007, thirty-five states adopted the same laws. This has increased the attention to standards of conduct in schools across the nation. The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that in 2001, nearly 160,000 students had skipped school every day due anxiety and fear of being bullied. That is a large number when you look at education standards across the country. In the same year, nearly seventy-four percent of eight to eleven year olds said teasing and bullying was occurring daily at school. Not even half of the parents that participated said bullying was an issue. Most of the bullying happens when teachers and parents aren’t around, mainly in school playgrounds. Thirty-nine percent of middle school students said they don’t feel safe at school because of bullying, which the study concluded, is the peak of bullying. Through the years, this carries up to the high school level, where almost eighty-six percent of students reported they were being bullied. It is believed that bullying is more relevant than smoking, drugs, alcohol and sex. Many believe the Columbine High School shooting is directly linked to bullying, as well as other high school shootings. A study in 1999 about bullying evolved around an imbalance over a cowering victim or a group towards a solitary individual. Bullying usually comes from someone that is part of dysfunctional family and is ignored at home. They don’t get the attention they should to feel loved or apart of something that helps to mold them. Their behavioral attitudes cause conflict with others and seem to be a growing problem in the coming years. I believe one psychology concept that impacts bullying is gender roles. Generally, males are the ones that are