Bullies present back-to-school problem


By Michelle Goetz Grahl
The Grand Traverse Herald
For many of us, back to school is an exciting time of new beginnings but for too many of our students they dread returning to school because they will be bullied.

Bullying is real, the effects are long lasting and it takes many forms. It’s not just kids being kids, and it’s not OK. All too often adults are part of the problem, either they don’t see the problem or they assume it will go away on it’s own. Studies show that between 15-25 percent of U.S. students are bullied with some frequency (“sometimes or more often”) while 15 20 percent report that they bully others with some frequency (Melton et al., 1998; Nansel et al., 2001).

What is bullying?

Bullying among children is aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Typically, it is repeated over time. Bullying can take many forms, such as hitting and/or punching (physical bullying); teasing or name-calling (verbal bullying); intimidation using gestures or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying); and sending insulting messages by phone or computer e-mail (cyberbullying). Many children, particularly boys and older children, do not tell their parents or adults at school about being bullied, so it is important that adults are vigilant to possible signs of bullying.

Warning signs

Possible warning signs that a child is being bullied:

— Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings. Full story.

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