Jan 29, 2016

We all know that bullying has been going on in our schools for years and we also know that it creates an unpleasant school experience for the victims. Over the recent past, we have certainly become more aware that it is important to try to create and maintain a more positive environment in the schools for all students. But are we doing enough?

Many schools around the country have now incorporated processes and procedures for reporting incidents of bullying. It is also visibly recognized (through posters and signs on various walls) in most schools that bullying is not an acceptable behavior. Discouragement of such negative behavior is certainly an appropriate thing to do. However, bullying still goes on at an alarming rate with continued negative impact.

One of the problems is that many educators/caregivers/mentors do not quite appreciate the kinds of devastating long term impacts that bullying can have. It is often a common belief that schools and communities are doing okay as long as there are no bullying-related suicides or school shootings, and that once the victims graduate from the school system, these will all become distant memories and will soon fade away with no serious impacts. Unfortunately for many victims that is not the case.

It is now being recognized that there can be a definitive connection between bullying and its long-term psychological impact. This is an extremely serious issue that often goes unnoticed and undetected during school years. There are numerous people out there who fortunately did not commit suicide because of bullying, but have had very difficult and traumatic impact on their lives for many years beyond high school. It is critical that educators/caregivers/mentors have a thorough understanding of this impact so they would be more effective in detecting and intervening as needed. It is also important to develop a better understanding of why bullies do what they do so an appropriate approach can be developed to assist students who are being bullied as well as those who are doing the bullying.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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