Reduce the Chances of Bullying
I am not an idealist and expect to eradicate bullying – there is always a hero, which means there has to be a villain. But I was shocked to learn that with all the Social Acceptance Programs and Bullying Behaviour Management Strategies implemented in schools today bullying statistics have increased!
Here are two statistics* that stood out for me:
1. School violence has decreased 4% BUT bullying has increased by 5%
Between 1999 and 2001 bullying started to increase and in 2005-2006 86% of public schools reported more incidents of violence and theft than before.
2. Children who are obese or have a disability are 63% more likely to be bullied than other children
Kids with learning disabilities, speech impediments, ADHD, autism as well as conditions that affect their appearance such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida are also at higher risk of being bullied.
This last statistic in particular is saddening considering the increase and large amount of inclusion and mainstreaming of special needs students we have in regular classrooms. With this education movement to include children with special needs one would have thought the bullying of these students would have decreased because of more public awareness of equality.As well as being a Special Education Teacher, I am a parent of a child with dyspraxia and she deals with ‘extra learning’ issues every day in her mainstream classroom so it is concerning to read these statistics as she heads into upper primary school.
As parents and teachers it is our job to help our children understand their emotions better in order to feel empathy and understand the emotions of others living in a different circumstance and there are an abundant amount of programs out there to be implemented by schools and parents to help reduce the bullying in playgrounds.
Unfortunately a lot of programs a short lived in their implementation rather than being a long term strategy or whole school approach where bullies are accountable to their peers and stand out badly if they don’t comply. In my past I have worked with a number of primary schools integrating children with special needs, particularly autism and have seen many programs tried. Some were good but short lived, others were obviously written by people who didn’t have to implement them and failed to achieve.
As part of my role I implemented my own program that addressed some of the queries the mainstream classes had around the special needs students being integrated. The activities weren’t just worksheets and stories but involved dressing up, role play and creating artworks – all of which led to more interaction and impact. I’d then help the teacher with a list of strategies to implement in the classroom for the duration of the year.
So as a teacher or school do your research – make the program accountable; look for long term strategies to put in place AFTER the program has run it’s course. If you’re wanting to learn more about my “Kids4Kids Social Acceptance Program” click here to go to the Personal Development area of my site to find it and my other ebook: “Making Weight Loss Fun4Kids”.
*All statistics on bullying in this article are from the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center and the Health Resources and Services Administration.