- Deseret News - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

New numbers released by the Department of Education show that for the first time since 2005, the percentage of students being bullied has dropped.

For 10 years, 28 to 32 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 reported being bullied, which is now down to 22 percent, according to the Department of Education.

“Parents, teachers, health providers, community members and young people are clearly making a difference by taking action and sending the message that bullying is not acceptable,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said in a statement. “We will continue to do our part at HHS to help ensure every child has the opportunity to live, learn and grow in a community free of bullying.”

Various organizations have been charting bullying rates and seeking to curtail the harmful interactions that are likely more dangerous than physical abuse and have countless harmful health effects that have been associated with them for 40 years.

One study, completed by Susan Swearer and Shelley Hyme, used this data to better understand who is doing the bullying, how to help the bullied and what needs to be done to stop bullying entirely, Kelly Wallace reported for CNN

While many movies have developed stereotypes of what a bully looks like and who they are bullying, Ms. Swearer said this is not true. Any student can be a bully and can be bullied, including boys, girls, popular and unpopular students.

Most often bullying is done when other students are around, but they rarely step in to stop what is happening, which is an issue, Ms. Wallace reported.

“Peers really influence the climate and the ability of bullying to kind of take place,” Ms. Swearer said. “So within the peer culture this is seen as something that this is just what people do?’”

Data show bullying often takes place in more than one realm, according to Ms. Wallace. For example, a student may be verbally or physically bullied at school and be attacked online as well. The rise of the Internet and social networking has made children more vulnerable to bullying at all times.

Students also often don’t report being bullied to school authorities or parents, Ms. Wallace reported. This could be because they don’t feel confident that it will help their situation or make the bully stop.

In order to cut bullying entirely, Ms. Swearer suggested giving students better access to mental health resources.

“So many families and kids … can’t access mental health treatments and so they either don’t know where to go or they don’t have the means,” she told Ms. Wallace. “And so to me, one of the solutions is bolstering school-based mental health resources. I think that that’s one of the keys to reducing bullying among kids.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide