When most people think of a school bully they think of a mean kid that is bigger than the rest. Who physically abuses other kids when a teacher is not around.
However, when we conducted our studies with kids who have dropped out of school we found that most admitted that that they feared going to school because they were bullied by the other students.
Others students who were terminated by the school system for making threats basically said the same thing. They stated that they had been made fun of by the other students to the point that they no longer cared about school or living. Most have given up on the teachers stopping the classroom bullies, since they were usually the popular kids. Many of them said that making threats to bullies was the only way that they could get the bullies to back off.
These threats got reported to the school board followed by disciplinary actions; however, when the students attempted to tell of being bullied and that the threats were made toward the participants to make them stop. They were told sharply that threatening anyone in the school system was inexcusable and was not justified (period and end).
We planted microphones and hidden cameras on some students who were being bullied. We monitored them through out the day. We found no kids in our study were physically touched by bullies. What we did find out surprised all of us.
The bullies were mostly one or two kids who started the attack followed by group of students snickering and laughing. About a third of the students did not participate and found no humor in a fellow classmate being harassed.
When the teachers found out that it was the unpopular student being laughed at, no actions was taken. Never once did we observe the teacher disciplining the student or students who started the attack.
What we found out was that the twenty first century bullies no longer uses physical force. Bullying has evolved into words, embarrassing words that are aimed at demoralizing a student.
The bullies often turned out to be the outspoken kids. Who were mostly from middle to upper income families. Their physical size had nothing to it. Some bullies turned out to be girls. No student were corrected by a teachers while we were conducting our study; however, we did catch one teacher laughing along with the class.
The following are good descriptions of what we found to be modern day bullies
(A) The act of teasing a fellow student in a malicious way in front of other students, by calling them names, making fun of their appearance (clothes, hair, make-up) or the way they talk, dress, or act. (We constantly observed this in the classrooms).
(B) The spreading of a damaging rumor of a students to other classmates: in conversation, in a note, through email or text messaging, or by posting on “My space”.
( All the students that we interviewed said that all these forms of bullying were happening to them.) With MySpace anonymous E-mails were sent out asking that a student be allowed to enter a victim’s space pretending that they wanted to be their friend. . If they were allowed access, profanity, nudity, their pictures were copied/edited and then reposted).
(C) The act of intimidating or frightening another student by verbally attacking them.
(We did not observe any of the following acts of bullying during our study): punching, hitting, pushing, or physically assaulting.)