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Bullying Power and the powerless

Bullying usually begins in elementary grades, is at its worst in the middle school grades and continues into high school. Parents and kids alike can benefit from knowing the facts on bullying.

• Bullying is widespread in American schools, with more than 16 percent of U.S. school children saying they had been bullied by other students during the current term. 1

Research shows that those who bully and are bullied appear to be at greatest risk of experiencing:
• loneliness
• trouble making friends
• lack of success in school
• behaviors such as smoking and drinking. 2

• Youth who were both bullies and recipients of bullying tended to fare the most poorly of all, experiencing social isolation, doing poorly in school, and engaging in problem behaviors, like smoking and drinking. 1

Researchers define bullying as "a type of behavior intended to harm or disturb the victim." It happens again and again over time. This behavior may include:
• hitting or other physical attack
• name-calling or threats
• spreading rumors or excluding a person. 2

• 160,000 kids miss school every day for fear of being bullied. 3

• Children who are bullied often tell no one about their misery out of shame, fear of retaliation, and feelings of hopelessness. 4

• Bullied boys are four times more likely to be suicidal: bullied girls are eight times more likely to be suicidal. 5

• Bullying creates a climate of fear and disrespect in schools and has negative impact on school climate and student learning. 6

• Bullying does not just affect victims and bullies. It also has an impact on the majority of students, who are often bystanders to bullying. 7

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1. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Study, April 24, 2001.

2. "Addressing the Problem of Juvenile Bullying," Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 2001.

3. National Association of School Psychologists.

4. PTA.

5. "Bullying Prevention is Crime Prevention," Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2003, http://www.fightcrime.org/

6. National Education Association, Bullying Awareness Campaign, 2003.

7. Banks, Ron (1997). Bullying in schools (ERIC Report No. EDO-PS-97-170.) University of Illinois Champaign, Ill.

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