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Bullying Jane LeVieux, PhD, RN, LPC Psychiatry Consult Liaison Service

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1 Bullying Jane LeVieux, PhD, RN, LPC Psychiatry Consult Liaison Service
Children’s Medical Center Dallas

2 What is Bullying An Imbalance of power Repeated and systematic harassment and attacks on others Perpetrated by individuals or groups Source: Health Resources and Services Administration National Bullying Campaign, 2004

3 Bullying is.. Physical violence
Verbal taunts, name-calling, and put-downs Threats and intimidation Extortion or stealing money and/or possessions Spreading rumors Harassment via technology ( , text messaging, etc.)

4 Sometimes, we just don’t want to know…
4 out of 5 middle school students admit they act like bullies at least once a month. 7% of eighth-graders stay at home at least once a month because of bullies. 14% of 8th-12th graders and 22% of 4th-8th graders reported “bullying diminished their ability to learn in school.” 10% of students who drop out of school do so because of bullying.

5 It’s out there, don’t hide your head in the sand
Six out of ten teens witness bullying at least once a day. 66% of youth are teased at least once a month, and nearly one-third are bullied at least once a month. An estimated 160,000 students miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.

6 Bullying as a Wide-Ranging Social Problem
Bullying played a major role in two thirds of the 37 school shooting incidents reviewed. 75% of school shootings had some link to bullying or social cruelty. Chronic victims of bullying report a variety of physical and mental health problems. Bullying negatively impacts social climate at school- creates “hostile environment” and “climate of fear and anxiety.”

7 Gender in Bullying Girls tend to bully via teasing about clothes and boyfriends or via social exclusion, spreading rumors. Boys tend to bully both boys and girls, while girls are more likely to victimize other girls. Girls are more likely to bully in a group.

8 Features and Characteristics of Bullying
Distinguishing features and key elements of bullying aggressions: involves a power imbalance in which the child doing the bullying has more power owing to such factors as age, size, support of the peer group, or higher status.

9 Features and Characteristics of Bullying
Difficult to completely distinguish “bullying” from other forms of conflict: Verbal and physical aggression frequently occurs among children /students of similar age, size, or status

10 Characteristics of Bullying
Bullying includes verbal aggression, physical aggression, and relationship damaging behaviors. Bullying may have sexual content, especially in the later elementary and middle school years. Bullying is often categorized as direct or indirect to differentiate behaviors that are expressed overtly from those that are expressed covertly.

11 Types of Bullies Reactive Bullies - anger management
impulse control, empathy, training, conflict mediation Proactive Bullies- consequences, boundaries, restorative justice Elitist Bullies - service learning projects

12 Seven Components Verbal and nonverbal (including physical contact)
Repetitive or patterned Unwelcome and unsolicited Violation of a standard of appropriate conduct Harmful or cause psychological or physical injury Intended to harm Exploiting actor’s position of power over target APA Monitor on Psychology, July/August, 2006, p. 69

13 Personal Attitudes & Beliefs
Children who bully Want power Have a positive attitude toward violence Have quick tempers Have difficulty conforming to rules Gain satisfaction from inflicting injury and perceive “rewards” (prestige, material goods) from their behavior Have positive self images

14 Children who Bully Lack empathy
Are concerned with their own desires rather than those of others Find it difficult to see things from someone else’s perspective Are willing to use others to get what they want

15 Signs that a child is being bullied
The child comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books or other belongings; The child has unexplained bruises, cuts or scratches; The child seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus or taking part in organized activities with peers; The child appears sad, moody, teary or depressed when he or she comes home; The child frequently appears anxious and/or suffers from low self-esteem.

16 Behavioral Changes Changes in eating or sleeping habits (e.g., nightmares); No longer wanting to participate in activities once enjoyed; Beginning to bully siblings or mistreat family pets; Hurting self, attempting or threatening suicide; Suddenly changing friends

17 Impact on the Victim Increased absenteeism
Increase in academic problems Increase in somatic symptoms Increase in suicide Increase in homicide Source: Espelage & Swearer, 2003; Fried & Fried, 2003; Juvonen & Graham, 2001; Orpinas & Horne, 2006; Zins, Elias, & Maher, 2007

18 Children who are bullied perceive school as an unsafe place and are likely to miss more days of school than their peers, as a result their education is negatively affected.

19 When peers intervene, Bullying stops within 10 seconds, 57% of the time.

20 Adult Responses To Bullying
Bullying is often perceived as a harmless rite of passage that all children will experience Unless bullying is likely to lead to physical injury, many adults believe it is best left to be resolved by children and their peers

21 Impact of Bullying on Teachers
On a daily basis… 6250 teachers are threatened by students 260 teachers are physically attacked In an average month in public secondary schools… 5000 public teachers are actually harmed Teacher Shortages 29% of teachers leave within 3 years 8% of teachers leave within 5 years

22 Prevention & Intervention
1. In order to reduce bullying, it is important to change the social climate of the school where teaching and non-teaching staff all work together; 2. Assess bullying at your school using an anonymous questionnaire to students about bullying; 3. Obtain staff and parent buy-in and support for bullying prevention; 4. Form a group to coordinate the school’s prevention activities that includes: an administrator, a teacher from each grade, a member of the non-teaching staff, school counselor and a parent.

23 Develop a school-wide bullying policy
raise awareness of teachers and administrators create a framework for responding to bullying improve overall school environment ensure change is occurring in the classroom empower students through programs such as peer counseling, mediation, or conflict resolution

24 Raise awareness of bullying:
Allow students to fill out surveys to better understand their perspective of bullying Inform caregivers of bullying policies/curriculum through conferences, newsletters, or PTA meetings Encourage parent involvement in anti-bullying initiatives

25 The Role of the Family in Bullying
Inconsistent parental discipline and monitoring Family interactions high in negative emotions Family interactions low in positive emotions Parents are tolerant of aggression Family interactions model the use of bullying and aggression Domestic violence and child abuse Espelage & Swearer, 2003; Fried & Fried, 2003

26 Peer Influence Bullies become empowered
Find targets and people to witness their behavior Witness role - Skill Training for Witnesses E - empathy L – language K - kindness

27 How the School Influences Bullying
Poor classroom management Lack of adult supervision Lack of awareness of the problem Poor understanding of bullying Teachers less likely to consider verbal and relational/emotional forms of aggression as bullying Discomfort in responding students’ aggression Acceptance of bullying which increases as students get older

28 Steps to Implement a Plan
Bullying Prevention Committee Student questionnaire Determine what behaviors will no longer be allowed Develop consequences for inappropriate behavior Share expectations and consequences with parents, students, all school staff Develop empathy for victims and empower “silent” majority of students Classroom meetings Teach problem-solving techniques Emphasize no bullying/harassing rules Re-evaluate

29 When to consider Law Enforcement
Consider involving the police if another child has physically assaulted a child or is seriously threatening him or her with bodily injury; Law enforcement can also intervene when bullying incidents are not addressed by the school. If school administrators are not adequately addressing a bullying problem, parents could also contact law enforcement for assistance; Parents should ask the school to keep a written record of all offenses committed against a child in case law enforcement officials need the information for future complaints; Changing bullying behavior in the schools requires a coordinated approach. Law enforcement officers can help stop the spread of fear and violence in our schools by assisting in the implementation of a comprehensive bullying prevention program.


31 Resources Bullying Resources
I am H*E*R*E Coalition for Teen and Young Adult Mental Health Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Comprehensive program for schools Training for those implementing the program Stop Bullying Now! U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration Take a Stand! Lend a Hand! Stop Bullying Now! Online webisodes and games Resource kit Website: Fast Facts from American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Stop Bullycide :

32 References Bauer NS, et al. (2006). Childhood bullying involvement and exposure to intimate partner violence. Pediatrics, 118(2): Beaty LA, Alexeyev EB (2008). The problem of school bullies: What the research tells us. Adolescence, 43(169): Cohn, A., & Canter, A. (2003). Bullying: What schools and parents can do. Retrieved October 8, 2010, from Nansel T, et al. (2003). Relationships between bullying and violence among U.S. youth. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, 157: Pamphlet, You Are Not Alone. Retrieved Oct 20, 2005 from Teach Peace Now The ABC’s of Bullying, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services available online at

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