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Bullying: A Challenge to You and Your Children

Updated on June 21, 2017

Mentally Prepare Your Child For School

Parents need to prepare their children to handle situations at school. One such situation is bullying. It has been observed that this problem is rampant during the initial schooling years and decreases as the children go to the higher classes.

Bullying Is a Menace and Must Be Curbed

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Bullying Definition

Bullying is a needless, aggressive behavior, usually among school aged children, which involves a real or perceived power imbalance. It is the use of superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force them to do something. In the long run, bullying harms the bully and the victim.

Who Is a Bully?

Bully is some one who lacks empathy and habitually intimidates another person who is smaller or weaker than him. A bullied child becomes victim of verbal and some times even physical aggression. A bully can also go to the extent of alienating the victim in the class. Children who are bullied suffer mental trauma. It may also affect their health.

Childhood Bullying May Increase the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

Childhood bullying may enhance the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to a study published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Among Girls Bullying Is Usually Through Verbal Abuse

Among girls, bullying is through verbal abuse in most of the cases. There are many instances of bullying and victimization among adolescent girl athletes.

Bullying Can Get Physical

Among boys bullying can get physical. There have been extreme cases where some children have committed suicide. Shocking, but true!

Some Bullying Victims Have Committed Suicide

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A Shocking Incident

In the CCTV footage, Gabriel Taye can be seen lying on the bathroom floor for several minutes. The video shows other students nudging or poking him with their feet as the eight-year-old lay motionless.

At one point, three students stand over him. One of them raises his leg until his knee was at waist level before walking away. For around six minutes, no one helped Gabriel — until an assistant principal walked in.

A Victim of Bullying

Earlier, Gabriel is seen shaking hands with another student. That is when he suddenly fell to the ground. The video shows his motionless legs from the bathroom entrance as other students hovered and walked past and around him. Gabriel would kill himself two days later.

The Jan. 24 2017 incident was recorded in a poor quality 24-minute surveillance video that school officials released Friday, May 12 2017, a day after the county coroner informed a local radio station that her office is reopening the investigation into Gabriel’s death.

School's Response

In a statement posted with the video, Cincinnati Public Schools say Gabriel told school officials that he “fell.” He later told them he “fainted.” “At no point did Gabriel indicate that he had been hit, yanked, pulled, pushed or assaulted in any way,” school officials said in their description of the video. “He had no visible abrasions and there had been no report of a fight of any kind.”

Police Version

But a Cincinnati police detective who had viewed the video earlier had a different version. As Gabriel was shaking the hands of the other student, the boy yanked him to the ground and appears to “celebrate and rejoice in his behavior,” according to the officer’s email description of the video reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer and obtained independently by The Washington Post. Students stepped over his body, pointing, mocking, nudging and kicking him, the detective said.

School officials said the detective’s description mischaracterized the incident. They uploaded the entire video after initially declining to make it public. The video blurs the faces of the minors to protect their identities. The Post published a shortened and blurred version of the footage.

“We asked that you review the video, in its entirety,” the school district said in its statement. “It is our firm position that the allegations portrayed in the media are not supported by the video.”

Mother's Agony

Gabriel’s mother, Cornelia Reynolds, however, says her boy was hurt. “I feel he was cheated. I feel robbed. My only child, my best friend and my first true love isn’t here with us physically, but I know he’s here in spirit,” Reynolds said in a statement Friday.

“I will fight every day, every second of every minute. I am my son’s voice and it will be heard. As Gabe’s mother, it’s my obligation to make sure that this will never happen again. No, this will not go away.”

Lack of Communication

For months after his suicide, Gabriel’s mother did not know about the trouble in the school bathroom. School officials did not inform her that her son was assaulted or unconscious — they simply told her he had fainted, the family’s lawyer, Jennifer L. Branch, told The Post.

It was not until March 2017, while the family’s lawyers were investigating the circumstances leading up to the student's death, that they learnt about the video.

The family decided to release details about the video, hoping that parents and others in the community might come forward with facts about what happened. Branch said the legal team is determining if it will file a lawsuit, and if so, against whom.

School officials said they were concerned about the length of time that Gabriel lay on the floor, and the district is reviewing procedures regarding adult supervisions in the restrooms. But they also said employees “immediately followed protocol by calling the nurse to evaluate Gabriel,” and they contacted his mother and advised her to take the boy to the hospital even though his vital signs were normal. Branch said the family denies that claim.

Damage Was Done

Branch said Gabriel was nauseated and vomiting on the evening of the Jan. 24 incident. His mother took him to the hospital, where she was told the boy had a stomach flu.

Tragedy

Gabriel didn’t go to school the following day but went back Jan. 26. That day, he would come home from school, go to his room and hang himself with his own neckties.

School officials said they shared the video with police investigators at the time of incident. “Their investigation has concluded and no charges were filed,” school officials said.

But Cincinnati Police Det. Eric Karaguleff, who saw the footage just days after the student's death, mailed to the school’s assistant principal, saying he saw “some concerning events in the video.”

“I witnessed behavior that in my belief is bullying and could even rise to the level of criminal assault, but due to the apparent age of the children involved, my current opinion is it could be better dealt with appropriately at the school level,” he said in the email.

Here are some things that you as a parent can do to help:

1) You should have a loving relationship with your child at home. By doing so, you are sending a message to the child that you are there for the child and it can look up to you for any assistance. This is very important. If your child does not even tell you that it is being bullied at school, there is nothing much you can do.

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Help Your Child Gain Strength

2) You should engage your child in physical activities and should make sure that it is physically strong. You should also encourage the child to pray daily and should get good books for the child to read. These habits go a long way in making the child mentally strong. A physically strong and mentally tough child is less likely to be bullied. A child brought up with such good habits will not bully others.

Speak Good Things About School

3) Even before the child starts going to school, you should speak good things about school. You should tell the child as to how it will get to meet other children, how they all can have fun, etc. You should some how ensure that the child is friendly and lovable. Chances of a friendly and cheerful person getting bullied are much less. Bullies tend to target loners.

Be Pro Active

4) You should pro actively educate the child about bullying. Bullying meaning should be known to your child. Also you should be sensitive to signs of a victim. Bullied children normally tend to avoid going to school. They may also tend to become scared and reserved especially on Sunday evenings when they remember that they have to go to school the next day.

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Listen to Your Child

5) In cases where the child reports that it is being bullied, you should listen to the entire story. Never assume that there is no bullying in schools. Once you are convinced that the child is a victim, you should ask the child to report this to the teacher. You should also tell the child that it should be confident. Some specific techniques like maintaining eye contact, speaking loudly and clearly, etc should be taught. You should also encourage the child to avoid physical encounters as far as possible.

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Attend Parents-Teachers Meeting

6) Regular meetings with teachers help you in getting an idea as to how your child is getting along with others in the school.

Is Your Child a Bully?

7) If you are a parent of a bully, you should teach your child about values like empathy. You should tell your child that by being a bully, it will be hated by its class mates. You should tell stories of great people who would have used their strength to help others. You should explain the advantages of winning love and friendship of its class mates. You may encourage the child to invite its classmates for birthday celebrations. You should treat the child with kindness as a bully is found to be struggling with some kind of emotional loss.

You Can Help Your Child Deal With Bullying

Bullying cannot be avoided at school. But it can definitely be handled by the child effectively. You as a parent can definitely help in this with your loving support.

Here are some books which give useful inputs related to this topic:

1) Title: Bullyproof Your Child For Life: Protect your child from Teasing, Taunting and Bullying for Good. Authors : Joel Haber and Jenna Glatzer.

2) Title: Bullying Prevention and Intervention: Realistic Strategies for Schools (The Guilford Practical Intervention in School Series). Authors: Susan M. Swearer PhD, Dorothy L. Espelage PhD and Scott A. Napolitano PhD.

Some Bullying Statistics

  • More than one out of every five (20.8%) students (reported) are victims of bullying. There may be unreported cases.
  • More than half of bullying situations (57%) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the victim.
  • School-based bullying prevention programs decrease bullying by up to 25%.
  • The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%).
  • Among high school students, 15.5% are cyberbullied and 20.2% are bullied on school property.
  • Among middle school students, 24% are cyberbullied and 45% are bullied on school property.
  • The percentages of individuals who have experienced cyberbullying at some point in their lifetimes have nearly doubled (18% to 34%) from 2007-2016.
  • 90% of teens who report being cyberbullied have also been bullied offline.
  • The National Autistic Society reports that 40 percent of children with autism and 60 percent of children with Asperger’s syndrome have experienced bullying.

Summary

  • Bully is someone who lacks empathy.
  • Have a loving relationship with your child at home.
  • Engage your child in physical activities.
  • Do your best to ensure that your child is friendly and lovable.
  • Meet your child's teachers regularly.

It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.

— Frederick Douglass

Unless and until our society recognizes cyber bullying for what it is, the suffering of thousands of silent victims will continue.

— Anna Maria Chavez

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    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 4 months ago from Auburn, WA

      Great advice. I don't have children but I'm married to a teacher. I think the physical activity advice is the most important. Whether it be through sports or martial arts, etc., being stronger prevents a lot of this. Now, in the U.S. we have gun issues. Instead of settling things with fists, like I did as a kid, they turn to guns now.

      My radical ideas (for some)

      1. Make boxing and/or martial arts mandatory for all males in junior high and High school

      2. Uniforms. One of the primary drivers of bullying is "looking different." If you give students a feeling of "team" it might eliminate a lot of this silliness. I'm not opposed to kids expressing themselves, but they can do it outside of school hours.

      Great work again.

    • srirad0675 profile image
      Author

      Srikanth R 4 months ago

      Useful inputs. Thank you.

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