Opinion: Teacher sees bullying at preschool level

By Syreeta Springer
I know it’s hard to imagine that children as young as three, four, and five years old as bullies or being bullied. But it does happen. If children ages 10 and 11 are committing suicide (as discussed this morning due to bullying; then that leaves the question, at what age does bullying begin? We want to believe that bullying usually occurs during middle school age when hormones are kicking in and the pressure to belong is great.

However, as a preschool teacher, I have seen peer pressure in preschool. I have also witnessed bullying. Bullying is described as being repeated actions used to intentionally hurt another. Some instances of bullying in preschool is incessant name calling; constant physical attacks (i.e. hitting, kicking, pushing) or threatening to harm another (i.e. a child who pounds his fist into an open palm as he stares fiercely at the other child); and excluding someone from the group. To combat the problem of bullying in schools, New Jersey adopted a law (in 2002) which requires school districts (such as Newark) to establish a policy banning bullying and includes consequences. Research shows that schools can slash bullying by 50% when incorporating a comprehensive bullying prevention program. Schools as a whole are definitely trying to do their part. Full story.


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