How to Help Kids Suffering from Bullying
What Teachers & Schools Should Do About Students Suffering from Relational Aggression
Despite the prevalence of the problem of relational aggression, some schools don’t take relational aggreassion situations seriously enough. Sometimes authority figures don’t pay attention to these situations at all. An editorial for Life Science Weekly noted:
“School policies often distinguish among different types of harassment, punishing physical aggression and certain forms of name-calling, such as sexual harassment or racial slurs, while tolerating other insults. Many schools have rules and interventions that target physical forms of aggression, but when there is name-calling, nothing happens. We find no support for the idea that verbal harassment is less hurtful than causing emotional distress than physical aggression” (paragraph 22) [emphasis added].
Regardless of the official school policies, school administration and teachers have a moral and often a legal responsibility to keep students safe while on the school grounds. This means teachers should be aware of tension between students, and ensure they are supervised students at all times.
When a situation does arise between students, the administration should inform all staff members of the incidents, so that they can be aware of the problems and on the look out for problems in common areas of the school, such as the hallways and locker rooms. Administration should take every allegation of RA seriously, and look for ways to build the character of students so that they will not think that victimizing people is alright.
Schools should also implement a zero-tolerance against cyberbullying and cyberstalking, which can occur on the school grounds through school computers and on cell phones. Instituting character programs which teach students better relational skills and counseling sessions for victims will also help them overcome their anxiety and better relate to their peers.
While the victim may feel defeated and feel hopeless, they are not alone in their plight. Even now-famous people were taunted at school, and have overcame the issues to use them for them. Consider the situation of Alicia Patton, who entered and won pageants, but was still taunted to the point where she “didn’t even want to go to school anymore” (Damio, 2010, paragraph 5). At her mother’s prompting, Alicia confronted her bullies and was able to get the bullying stopped. In 2010, Alicia was crowned both homecoming queen at her school, and Miss Teen North Dakota; she was bullied, but built on it. Parents and teachers alike can learn to recognize the symptoms of RA and treat the problem before it is too late.
Bloom, A. (2009) The cyberbully girls who hide behind false identity. Times Educational Supplement, 9. Retrieved from Factiva.
Bully OnLine. “Cyberbullying on the internet”. Retrieved on July 4 from http://www.bullyonline.org/related/cyber.htm
Childnet International. (2007). Cyberbullying: a whole-school community issue. Retrieved from http://www.digizen.org/downloads/cyberbullyingOverview.pdf
Damio, C. (2010). More than a pretty face. Scholastic Action, 33(11), 12. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.
Editorial: Behavior; bullying among sixth graders a daily occurrence. [Editorial]. 2005, April 19. Life Science Weekly. Retrieved from Factiva.