Position Paper on Bullying in the Schools
Prevalence of Bullying Behavior
Peer victimization is a significant problem in U.S. schools. In 1999, an estimated 5% of students
ages 12 through 18 reported fearing attack or harm at school (U.S. Department of Education
[USDE], 2000). In a recent national study, Nansel, et al. (2001) found that about 30% of 6
-grade students had been involved in bullying incidents with moderate or frequent
regularity. Similar prevalence rates can be found in the state of Florida. For example, in a study
by Bully Police, USA, they found that of the 2, 701, 022 school age children in Florida,
approximately 442, 157 students were ...view middle of the document...
Consequences of Bullying
The effect of bullying others and being victimized can significantly impact a student’s
performance in the classroom. For example Nansel, et al. (2001) found that bullies are less
interested in school than students not involved in bullying. In addition both bullies and victims
were more likely to experience feelings of loneliness and poor relationships with classmates than
students not involved in bullying. Moreover, in a review of the literature, Dake, Price, &
Telljohann (2003) found that bullies are more likely to have lower academic achievement.
Supporting this is Garett’s (2003) finding that being victimized can lead to declining grades.
Dake et al., also found that victims of bullies tend to be less popular in school than other students
not involved in bullying. As a result of being bullied, 16% of boys and 31% of girls reported
being absent from school in attempts to avoid being victimized (Rigby, 1998).
In addition to bullying's effects on students’ academic performance, there is substantial evidence
that bullying impacts the mental health of our students. Supporting this is Nansel, et al.’s (2001)
finding that children who are bullied have poor psychosocial functioning compared with students not involved in bullying. More specifically, they found that smoking, alcohol consumption, and
conduct problems were associated with students who bully others. Dake, et al. (2003), in their
review of the literature, found that bullies are also more likely to suffer from eating disorders
than students not involved in bullying. Anxiety has also been linked with students involved in
bullying (Bond, Carlin, Thomas, Rubin, & Patton, 2001; Craig, 1998; Dake, et al., 2003; Garett,
2003; Rigby, 1998). An even greater concern is evidence that there is a relationship between
being victimized and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Mynard, Joseph, & Alexander, 2000).
Both bullies and victims are more likely to have lower self esteem than non-bullies and nonvictims (Seals & Young, 2003). More concerning is that students involved in bullying are more
likely to suffer from depression (Bond, Carlin, Thomas, Rubin, & Patton, 2001; Craig, 1998;
Dake, et al., 2003; Kaltiala-Heino, Rimpela, Marttunen, Rimpela, & Rantanen, 1999; Rigby
1998; Roland, 2002; Seals & Young, 2003). Even more frightening is that students involved in
bullying are at greater risk of suicidal behavior (Carney, 2000; Kaltiala-Heino et al, 1999; Rigby
& Slee, 1999; Roland, 2002).
What can be Done?
The Florida Association of School Psychologists (FASP) opposes bullying behavior in our
schools. FASP recognizes the consequences of bullying and encourages schools to utilize one or
more of the numerous ways to prevent bullying in our schools, including:
· Implementing an empirically supported bully prevention program (such as the
Olweus Bully Prevention Program, Bully Busters, etc.)
· Improving supervision of children in...