Study shows that a third of students will be bullied this school year. Brett H. Pritchard and the Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard says the time to act is now.
KILLEEN, TX, USA, July 30, 2018 /EINPresswire.com/ — Having written on security measures in response to the school safety issue, Brandon Pritchard believes that schools must defend themselves from both exterior and interior threats. Pritchard connects the school bullying problem to the mental health and school safety debate, noting that it cannot be overlooked. Schools, research and governments must combine to effectively to curb the often-forgotten problem of school bullying.
Pritchard elaborates on how effective anti-bullying laws incorporate all these three spheres in his article for LinkedIn. Anti-bullying school programming and policy must be re-energized and renewed. Laws must reflect that this is an issue in 2018, not 2008, when many states signed anti-bullying legislation. Research must reflect bullying within the context of changing political and cultural climates, and this research should be integrated into school and state policy.
The first anti-bullying law was signed in Georgia in response to the Columbine Massacre because the gunmen had planned the attack as retaliation for the bullying they endured while attending the school. That was back in 1999 and Montana was the last state to sign anti-bullying legislation.
In the first decade of the 2000s, movies and documentaries related to bullying emerged. The news began reporting on extreme bullying cases, and schools and governments were responding, shifting toward intolerance. The public came to acknowledge the non-physical types of bullying: verbal, emotional, sexual, cyber. It was not until 2015 that Montana, the last state with no anti-bullying law, signed legislation.
National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) found that 33 percent of students who reported being bullied at school indicated that they were bullied at least once or twice a month during the school year. This shows that students most often experience bullying in a chronic sense. It recurs. The federal government began data collection on school bullying in 2005, when the prevalence of bullying was around 28 percent. With a political and cultural shift toward awareness, this figure has decreased some. NCES found that more than one out of every five (20.8%) students report being bullied in 2016. This is a 7.2% decrease for an eleven-year difference.
With the historical and cultural context summarized above, Pritchard points out that many schools’ programming about bullying feels antiquated and is difficult for students to relate to. He elaborates in his Patch Op-ed, inquiring how they could be expected to identify bullying happening around them when students are being taught with, “the 2012 movie ‘Cyberbully’, equipped with 2010 sliding phones with qwerty keyboards and obsolete versions of social medias we use today.”
In his LinkedIn article, he also stresses holistic approaches to bullying, such as "positive behavioral interventions and supports" (PBIS). PBIS focuses on the whole student within the context of the climate of the school. “For a problem as complex as bullying,” he writes, “within a problem as complex as mental health and school safety, approaches such as these will be impactful.” They feel fresh, he stresses.
Pritchard’s article argues that schools should base their policy and practices on research. Research shows that a slightly higher percentage of female than of male students report being bullied at school (23% vs. 19%), for example. Conversely, a higher portion of male than of female students report being victims of physically bullying (6% vs. 4%) and harmful threats (5% vs. 3%; (NCES, 2016). With this information, teachers can better notice the signs of bullying.
For teachers to do this, though, schools need access to current research reflecting our changing culture and political climate. Schools should implement relevant, modern anti-bullying processes and programming. Laws and political policy need to reflect and stress that the bullying problem is not gone “[S]chools, researchers and governments must combine and focus their efforts to curb the often-forgotten problem of school bullying,” Brett H. Pritchard reiterates, “With major steps like this toward mentally safer learning environments, we will take steps toward physically safer schools.”
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Law Office of Brett H. Pritchard
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Source: EIN Presswire