A government department has released a report about the dangers of bullying in schools and how educators can counteract its negative affects.
The Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention released the report on Friday, called “Bullying in Schools: An Overview,” the first of five bulletins examining bullying and its effects.
The OJJDP-funded study was conducted by the National Center for School Engagement in 2007 and focuses on the connection between bullying, truancy and low academic achievement.
“Parents and schools across the country worry about the devastating harm bullying can cause, and we share this concern for our nation’s children,” said Jeff Slowikowski, acting administrator of the OJJDP. “This new study highlights the impact of bullying and recommends effective anti-bullying strategies that schools can implement to keep students safe.”
It warned that, in extreme cases, victims face shooting, physical assaults or other harassment that may cause them to turn to suicide. Victimization often distances students from learning and contributes to myriad other problems, including truancy and academic failure. However, researchers found that bullying does not directly cause truancy, and that a caring school community with provides academic challenges and adult support can serve as a powerful antidote to the negative effects of bullying.
The researchers found generic anti-bullying programs to be an ineffective substitute for hands-on, student-focused programs.
The researchers also recommended schools offer adult-student mentoring programs; provide students with opportunities for community service; address the difficult transition between elementary and middle school, which changes from one classroom teacher to teams of teachers with periods and class changes in a larger school; and most importantly, that the bullying prevention programs start early.
Visit the JJDP website for more information about the report and to download a PDF copy of it.