The prevalence of bullying in schools and how bachelors of education students can make a difference

William Woods EDU

Children paint during William Woods’ Kemper Kids Art Camp
According to a National Center for Educational Statistics survey, one out of four students in the U.S. reported being bullied during the 2013 school year.

And with the increased use of social media and social sharing networks, bullying has moved beyond just school hallways into the online realm. The National Bullying Prevention Center noted that 19.6 percent of children are bullied in school, while 14.8 percent are bullied online.

In October, media and entertainment company, SoulPancake, released a video simply titled “Bullied.” The video features several adults who share their story of being bullied as a child and what they wish someone would have said to them.

The video concludes with each participant reading a letter they wrote to their childhood bully, one even calling his bully on the phone and reading it to him.

For William Woods University students pursuing a degree in education, the video may offer insights into the kind of words a bullied student may need to hear from their teacher.

In the closing lines of the video, one participant thanks her bully for helping her know now “that different is nothing to be ashamed of.” Reading in the letter to the person that bullied her, “I hope you have grown too, and have changed your perspective on being different.”

Engaging students in activities that promote unity and celebrate individuality is an important practice for teachers to bring to their classrooms. The National Bullying Prevention Center provides teacher toolkits of resources and activities to do just that and to teach students the danger of bullying.

More and more is being done to establish zero-tolerance policies for bullying in schools, and as of this past April all fifty states have passed anti-bullying legislation.

Missouri passed legislation back in 2010, issuing that every school in the state must establish and implement an anti-bullying policy, defining bullying as, “intimidation or harassment that causes a reasonable student to fear for his or her physical safety or property.

The bill goes on to explain “bullying may consist of physical actions, including gestures, or oral, cyberbullying, electronic, or written communication, and any threat of retaliation for reporting of such acts.”

Beyond what is already being done to end bullying through state and school wide initiatives, there are many tools and resources provided to teachers to help discourage bullying in the classroom. The National Education Association, as well as the U.S. Department of Education and many others provide tips for teachers to put an end to bullying, such as how to create a safe and supportive classroom environment, how to remain calm and get to the bottom of what happened, and how to get students the proper professional help if need.

Check out “Bullied” below and hear the stories of those who look back on their years of being victims to bullying.

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