What is behind all the bullying in schools?

"Bullying involves an initial desire to hurt, this desire is expressed
in action, someone is hurt, the action is directed by a more
powerful person or group, it is without justification, it is typically
repeated, and it is done so with evident enjoyment."
Rigby, 1998 as cited by Field, 2010.
It can take many forms including:
Aggressive/violent: hitting, pointing, yelling
Subtle: whispers, stares, rumours
Cyber bullying
Discrimination/harassment: gender, sex, racial, handicapped
Group bullying
“Almost as hurtful as the cruelty of bullies, is the
sense of betrayal, which many feel when those
that they thought were friends remain silent and
inactive on the sidelines. Like the priest and the
levite who walked by on the other side of the
road, while the man remained bleeding on the
ground, all too many friends and fellow students
choose to keep their distance, or stand silent and
inactive on the sidelines” (Luke 10:30 – 33).
“This is the very opposite of loving our neighbour
as ourself and doing unto others as you would
have them do to you” (Luke 6:31).
Children from a Year Five class were asked “why do children
bully?” The results indicated that family life and popularity
were two of the major driving forces they believed as the
reasons why children bully. Expression of feelings and power
were two other significant reasons that the children highlighted.
 Research
shows that when it comes to
bullying, it is the bully with the issue, not
the victim.
Click hyperlink to play video
The environment that a child
is brought up in plays a part
in a child’s perception of
what is right and what is
The Brown University (2004)
discusses how bullying is
detrimental to a child’s wellbeing. The results indicated that
if a child is being bullied they can
start to feel isolated, anxious,
scared, insecure and consequently
believe that there is something
wrong with them.
The amount of bullying that
occurs at a school varies; it
depends on the geographical
position, socioeconomic status,
organisational structures and
the culture of the school.
(State of Victoria Department of
Education and Training, 2002).
The problem with combating
bullying is that the bully lacks
empathy and the victim lacks
assertiveness. Effective, socially
competent role models are
needed not only for the bully, but
also the bystanders and the
Research conducted by Juvonen
(2003) found that 7% of the
bullies were psychologically
strong. The image that bullies
portray to fellow peers is
generally to cover up one’s own
insecurities and inadequacies.
Bullying can create an image
that portrays the bully as tough,
popular or someone to be
fearful of and therefore gains
the attention of fellow peers.
There is evidence from a range of disciplines
that indicate that children in the 21st
Century are facing a different world from
previous generations.
Children need COPING SKILLS in order to
deal with the challenges that they will face
in their daily life.
(McGrath & Noble, 2003, p.1)
There are four significant reasons why the
youth of today are facing different
challenges in life in comparison to previous
Young people are more likely nowadays to
encounter a range of difficult circumstances,
negative events and down times than
previous generations
(McGrath & Noble, 2003, p.1)
They are less equipped and well situated
than previous generations to cope well with
these challenges and down times.
In response to such stressors, they are more
likely to turn to maladaptive strategies like
overusing drugs and alcohol, behaving in an
anti-social way and suicide.
The relative epidemic of depression among
young people that was not apparent in
previous generations.
(McGrath & Noble, 2003, p.1)
Rosenberg (2002) states that bullying is most
prevalent and damaging when a child is in primary
Implementing an effective program into the school
can prevent the prevalence of bullying.
Research has indicated that both the bully and the
victim have an inadequate grasp of social skills.
Rosenberg (2002) has postulated that it is paramount
that children are equipped with vital social skills to
be assertive, handle negative criticism, feel positive
about themselves and realise the impact of one’s
actions on other people.
Preventative Approach
The most effective way of
addressing bullying is by
focusing on a primary
prevention approach.
Research both here and
overseas shows that a
preventative approach in
school is most effective,
especially in achieving
long-term goals
(State of Victoria Department of
Education and Training, 2002).
Click hyperlink to play video
Brown University. (2004). Bullying intervention more effective for older students. (What’s New in Research).
The Brown University Child and Adolescent Behaviour Letter, 20 (4), 4-6.
Bullying No Way!, http://www.bullyingnoway.com.au/
Christian Action, 2003. Bullying: A Biblical Perspective
Elliot, M. 1997. Bullying: A Practical Guide to Coping for Schools, Pearson Education Limited: Great Britain
Field, E. 2010. Bully Blocking,
Field, M. 2009 , Bullying in Schools
Full Esteem Ahead, http://www.stopbullyingnow.com/Some%20reasons%20why%20%20kids%20bully.pdf
Hibbert, A. 2004. Why Do People Bully?, Great Britain: White-Tomson Publishing
James Cook University, 2010, Reasons for Bullying Behaviour,
Juvonen, J. (2003). Bullying in schools pervasive, disruptive, serious. Ascribe Medicine News Service, 1, 1-3.
McGrath, H & Noble, T. (2003). Bounce Back! Teacher’s Handbook A Classroom Resiliency Program. Frenchs
Forest: Pearson Education Australia.
Rosenberg, M. (2002, March 17). Required course: Bully prevention. New York Times. P.5.
State of Victoria Department of Education and Training. (2002) Addressing bullying behaviour it’s our
responsibility [Online]. Available URL: http://www.eduweb.vic.gov.au/bullying/index.htm

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