Each bullycide is an unpalatable fact that a child has died as a result of the deliberate actions of another in an environment where the responsible adults have failed to provide a mechanism for reporting, intervening and dealing with physical and psychological violence. The excuses of ‘we didn’t know’ or ‘we didn’t understand’ are no longer valid.
Bullycide, Death at Playtime: An expose of Child Suicide Caused by Bullying
(Neil Marr and Tim Field)
It is disturbing to reflect upon the harm and injury… even the deaths that have resulted from violence and suicide among children and youths in North American schools. Bullying has been the focus of a great deal of concern and it has been the subject of a significant body of research in recent years.
Bullying is, of course, symptomatic of underlying causes including abuse of the perpetrators, inability to understand and process emotions, feelings of isolation and alienation, and absence of positive social strategies to name only a few. There is an understandable urgency surrounding incidents and trends of bullying in school and there is a need for an even greater focus on the effective prevention of bullying.
A school that ignores the values of empathy, tolerance and compassion… or worse still, pays lip service to these values while doing nothing concrete and effective to promote these values… creates an atmosphere that is not only unpleasant for the “losers” but one that short-changes the “winners” as well. Nobody left to Hate: Teaching Compassion after Columbine, by Elliot Aronson
However, the lasting changes to school culture will result from a focus on the positive…on the development of supportive community, a sense of belonging, for all children and youth… and that initiative will require the engagement of the entire school community including students, parents and staff members in a long-term and ongoing collaborative endeavor.
Planned intervention in our schools can greatly reduce bullying and its subsequent negative impact on individual children, the school community, and the entire community. Research has shown that bullying can be greatly reduced if educators, students and parents work together to create a school climate in which there is an esprit de corps… the spirit of devotion and enthusiasm among members of the group for one another, their group and their purpose… and in which all kids believe that they have worth, are capable human beings, are expected to serve, and can resolve conflicts non-violently.
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander