Bullying among children is commonly defined as intentional, repeated hurtful acts, words or other behavior, such as name-calling, threatening and/or shunning committed by one or more children against another. These negative acts are not intentionally provoked by the victims, and for such acts to be defined as bullying, an imbalance in real or perceived power must exist between the bully and the victim (Dorothy L. Espelage, 2004). According to experts, bullying interferes with the victim’s ability to learn in school, which in turn could affects his/her grades. It might also lead the victim to absenteeism or drop out of school. The victim may also loose or fail to develop self-esteem, isolate himself/herself, experienced depression, etc. (Argosy University, 2014). Unfortunately, this type of shameful activity always occurs away from responsible adults; as a result the bullies go unpunished.
Bullying may be physical, verbal, emotional or sexual in nature. For example: physical bullying includes punching, poking, strangling, hair pulling, beating, biting and excessive tickling. Verbal bullying includes such acts as hurtful name-calling, teasing and gossip. Emotional bullying includes rejecting, terrorizing, extorting, defaming, humiliating, blackmailing, rating/ranking of personal characteristics such as race, disability, ethnicity, or perceived sexual orientation, manipulating friendships, isolating, and ostracizing and peer pressure.
Sexual bullying includes many of the actions listed above as well as exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual propositioning, sexual harassment and abuse involving actual physical contact and sexual assault (Florida Statutes 1006.147, 2014). As a school counselor, living in the state of Florida, I’m required to report any bully that occurs and I’m aware of, to concern authorities and the school principal only for further actions. During my meeting with the school principal and other competent agencies that work with children welfare I would be obligated to give Anita’s name and other non-sensitive information about her. Everything else would remain confidential in order to protect her privacy (Florida Statutes 1006.147, 2014).
There are various approaches that can be used to help both Anita and those who bullied her, such Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or an ecological Approach. (Argosy University, 2014). According to experts, comprehensive approach seems to be one the most effective intervention to alter bullying effects. During the process, efforts that involve teachers and other school staff, students, parents and community members would implemented in order to make the intervention approach more effective than purely classroom-based approaches. Since children and adolescents are deeply affected by those who surround them, the ecological approach to stop or reverse bullying effects also needs to target the environment in which the child function, such as the school, his/her family, etc. (Argosy university, 2014).
Working with school staff in order to help build prosocial behavior, interpersonal communication, and problem-solving and conflict-resolution skills, awareness in teachers, staff, and parents to ensure that the behavior of children is monitored and any concerns are recognized as quickly as possible (Argosy University, 2014). Other programs that can be implemented are: community outreach to compliment school programs and community assistance, which could include the police, social service, community mental-health agencies, government and juvenile justice, and neighborhood networking as well. As far as individualized support, the cognitive behavioral therapy would be very helpful in this category in order to help Anita have higher self-esteem, various ways to avoid bully or to cope with it. I would provide both individual and family counseling for Anita and her parents, consult with parents individually when specific concerns arise, open communication with Anita’s parents in order to create a team approach to helping Anita exhibiting negative behaviors. This includes positive feedback as well.” (Argosy University, 2014).
Increased supervision in areas that are hot spots for bullying and violence at the school, development of school wide rules and sanctions against bullying, encourage Anita to become part of "friendship groups" or other supports for students who are victims of bullying, and engaging community members, students, and school personnel in anti-bullying efforts within the community. Since bullying effects is a case by case situation, the environmental alterations have to be based on the scenario, the gravity of the bully, and gender as well. There are many issues that a young girl or boy who’s been bullied might find very uncomfortable to discuss in front of other school mates who are of a different gender (Dorothy L. Espelage, 2004).
Argosy University (2014). Bullying and Violence in American School. Data Retrieved on 05/11/2014, from: https://digitalbookshelf.argosy.edu/#/books/9781412973366/pages/49050808?return=/books/9781412973366/outline/17
Dorothy L. Espelage, Ph.D. (2004). An Ecological Perspective to School-Based Bullying Prevention. Data Retrieved on 05/111/2014, from: http://www.tpronline.org/article.cfm/An_Ecological_Perspective_to_School_Based_Bullying_Prevention
Florida Statutes 1006.147 (2013). The 2013 Florida Statutes. 1006.147 Bullying and harassment prohibited. Data Retrieved on 05/11/2014, from: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=1000-1099/1006/Sections/1006.147.html