Effects of bullying in school

March 25, 2016

Does your child develop a sudden illness when it is time to leave for school? Are grades declining for no apparent reason? Does your child exhibit signs of social withdrawal, anxiety or depression? These are just a few signs of bullying. Research shows that bullying is linked to a child’s academic achievement, learning and development.

According to the American Psychological Association, children who are bullied are more likely to:

·       Avoid school

·       Drop out of school

·       Have lower academic achievement

·       Have lower self-esteem and higher levels of anxiety/depression/loneliness

·       Attempt suicide

Students that attend an alternative or private school like The Pinnacle Schools are sometimes victims of bullying, but in some cases, the student may be the aggressor. It is important to understand that bullying is not simply aggressive behavior with the intention of causing distress or harm. Bullying often involves an imbalance of power and may be physical, verbal or cyber. 

So why do some children get bullied and why do some bully?

One group of children that are likely to get bullied is those that are unable to recognize or respond to nonverbal cues from their peers. For example, many people conversing with an associate or peer would have no difficulty picking up on negative gestures like folded arms across the chest, a scowl on the face or tapping of a foot.  These are indicators that the associate is not interested, doesn’t agree or is agitated. Appropriate measures can be taken before the conversation leads to a verbal confrontation or much worse, a physical confrontation.

Yet some children fail to recognize these markers and continue current behavior until the recipient boils over and reacts inappropriately. It is important for parents, teachers and other adults that observe these behaviors to use situations as learning opportunities. Just as you would teach an algebra lesson step-by-step, review what physical mannerisms might mean and practice how to respond.

Classrooms at Pinnacle Schools are smaller than traditional public school classrooms and have a higher staff-to-student ratio. Certified teachers are supported by Behavioral Interventionists (BI) that are trained to detect and intervene before situations become hostile. Teachers and BIs are supported by mental health care providers in the school. It is important to counsel the student that is bullied and the student that is bullying.

Preventing bullying

Preventing bullies from bullying begins with understanding the core issue driving the behavior. Often bullies lack attention from a parent at home and lashes out to others for attention. Older siblings may contribute to bullying. If they have been bullied themselves, they are more likely to bully a younger sibling in order to feel more secure or empowered. Adult role models such as parents, teachers or coaches are sometimes bullies. Children will mimic the behavior of those that they yearn to receive attention, love and respect.

According to the www.stompoutbullying.org, bullies often lack empathy and foresight, see weaker children as a target to get relief from their own feelings of helplessness. Social bullies have poor self-esteem and manipulate others through gossip. Detached bullies are likeable to everyone but their victims. They often plan their attacks. Hyperactive bullies, similar to their victims, have trouble understand how to socialize and react inappropriately.

Prolonged results

When children have prolonged struggles with socializing, whether they are bullies or being bullied, a vicious cycle begins. The bullied child often withdraws and experiences few opportunities to practice social skills. The child who is bullying may grow to feel more empowered, become more aggressive and engage in more delinquent and criminal behavior.

Teachers and Behavioral Interventionists at The Pinnacle Schools provide for their students increased supervision and behavioral health care services that include psycho-educational groups. Some groups are anger management, health and well-being, conflict resolution, communication, social issues and others as identified.