When trying to imagine a school bully, you’ll probably picture a socially inadequate boy who is fond of using threats and sometimes physical abuse in order to get what he wants. Such children are likely to suffer from loneliness or have only a couple of friends with similar interests, but being rejected by the rest of the classmates. Despite the fact that such definition of a school bully is quite accurate, it is still incomplete and depicts only one side of a rather complicated image of what bullying stands for.
School bullying has gradually turned into a pandemic of the 21st century affecting the wellbeing of school children and making their lives more difficult. Apart from socially inadequate students, it has been found that even the most authoritative and popular children can become school bullies. It is important to mention that one of the reasons why school bullying is so hard to eliminate in the school environment and present-day culture is because bullying is effectively used by not only school students, but also adults. In fact, bullying can be regarded as a kind of social power that involves the attempts to defend one’s status by using social vulnerability of other people for one’s own benefit. It therefore can be argued that prevention or mitigation of the problem f school bullying requires a clear understanding of various social tendencies existing in the school environment.
Why does school bullying exist even in the present-day civilized society? Much research has been conducted on the problem of school bullying revealing that this issue can be viewed as a byproduct of social tendencies that take place within classrooms. It is a fact that when children gather together, they tend to associate with those who have similar interests or features of character in order to find supporters for their own behavior. This frequently leads to the development of specific peer groups that occupy a dominant position in the social hierarchy within the school environment. This consequently results in the distribution of power when certain groups of students influence the rest of children. In some cases, youth strives to occupy a high-status position within this social hierarchy and therefore, uses bullying as a means of climbing the social ladder. Some children that exhibit aggression and violence might play a role of leaders and use bullying as a way to protect their power from classmates.
What purposes does bullying serve? First of all, the use of violence as a part of school bullying is an attempt to maintain one’s powerful position within specific groups. Aggression is directly oriented on causing harm to other students, which involves such methods as spreading gossips or rumors and disregarding other people’s wishes. This form of school bullying is commonly used by girls, and in this case everything depends on the ability of a child to influence the relationships with classmates. Some children are trying to hang out with more influential students and associate themselves with marginalized children who are commonly known as bullies. All this leads to an assumption that the purposes of bullying vary according to the status of bullies. If it is a low-status bully, he/she may use violence in order to gain more power among other students, while high-status bullies use aggressive means to maintain their position of power.
Who is generally involved in school bullying and what relations do they have with other students? As a rule, there are several specific types of young children who are involved in school bullying. These include aggressive youth whom other children fear (bullies), marginalized children who often become victims of bullying themselves (bully-victims), and non-violent youth who are most likely to become victims of bullying (victims). It has been found that these three types of students have different patterns of relationships with their peers. Even though some bullies are not popular with other students, they are still perceived by both students and teachers as “cool” students within the classrooms. Some teachers even view them as leaders, unlike other categories of students. As for the victims of bullying, these students are usually perceived as being secluded from others and not many children actually want to associate with them.
How can school bullying be prevented? Even though it is argued that school bullying is quite a natural phenomenon in the school environment, it should not be considered something acceptable or even inevitable. In contrast, teachers and parents should be aware of what is going on in the classroom environment to prevent the processes that might somehow contribute to school bullying. Here are some tips as for what teachers and parents can do to prevent bullying.
In such a way, school bullying should not be considered an inevitable phenomenon of classroom environment. If proper measures are taken, the problem of bullying at school can be mitigated, if not eliminated entirely. Therefore, teachers and parents should unite their efforts in combating the problem of school bullying to make classroom environment less dangerous for students.