With the recent shootings in Ohio, there is much to be said about the cause and motive behind it all. As the news unfolds and speculation grows behind why T.J. Lane would do something like this, it’s important for us to note the mentioning of bullying.
Bullying has been alluded to already as something that T.J. Lane may have dealt with at the school, which possibly lead him to shoot 5 and killing three of them. Having known a couple of students who have been victims of bullying (one of them being a 5th grade student in NC who was threatened by a classmate with a weapon), it is important for us to look at this ever increasing form of harassment and violence in school.
According to Make Beats Not Beatdowns, the numbers are staggering:
– It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.
– American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.
– 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
– 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
– 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
– 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
– 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
– 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
– Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.
– 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
– Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.
– Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
– 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
– 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.
– 61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
– 54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
– According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.
– Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.
With numbers like these we must take bullying seriously. How can we become better informed and aware of bullying? Here are a few helpful thoughts to consider.
1) If your kid is being bullied, odds are the teachers don’t know about it. Often bullying happens in the halls, playgrounds, cafeterias, or bathrooms where teachers are often in their own groups, uninvolved in the circles of the kids. Much of the bullying that happens in areas where there are no teachers or cameras to catch the actions.
If you are a teacher, please engage students as much as you can. Build relationships and show concern for the students outside of class. If you are a parent, build a trusting relationship with your child so if and when this happens, you can dialogue about it without fear and anxiety.
2) Teach your child preventative ways to handle the escalation of bullying. One of the most difficult times in life for anyone to navigate are the middle school and high school years. Teasing, sarcasm, and even benign joking can evolve into full-fleged bullying if unchecked.
Here are 5 “E” ‘s to help in teaching preventative measures:
The first thing to do is evaluate the type of bullying it is: verbal, physical, emotional, etc. so you can take the right steps yourself. Secondly, listen without any judgmental prejudices. Don’t take any side in the matter. Just use your ears and listen. Thirdly, enact a plan that is non-threatening but decisive. Help your child understand the proper protocol to take when they feel threatened and harassed. Encourage your child to not retaliate using violence or other forms of bullying themselves in handling these matters. Talk with your child about how to escape a situation that may be dangerous or life-threatening.
3) Be involved in the school system. The more you are involved in the school system and familiar with the school setting the more advice and help you can give to your child, teachers and faculty. Join the local PTA, PTO or other parent organization and get involved in bringing an end to bullying!
For more information about bullying check out: http://www.stopbullying.gov/, or http://www.education.com/topic/school-bullying-teasing/