West Virginia schools combat bullying
Marlinton, W.Va. –
Bullying is the most common form of violence in our society; between 15-percent and 30-percent of students are bullies or victims.
A recent report from the American Medical Association on a study of over 15,000 sixth-10th graders estimates that approximately 3.7 million youths engage in, and more than 3.2 million are victims of, moderate or serious bullying each year.
Between 1994 and 1999, there were 253 violent deaths in school, 51 casualties were the result of multiple death events. Bullying is often a factor in school related deaths.
Membership in either bully or victim groups is associated with school drop out, poor psychosocial adjustment, criminal activity and other negative long-term consequences.
Direct, physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that younger students are more likely to be bullied than older students.
Over two-thirds of students believe that schools respond poorly to bullying, with a high percentage of students believing that adult help is infrequent and ineffective.
25-percent of teachers see nothing wrong with bullying or putdowns and consequently intervene in only four-percent of bullying incidents.
According to the Charleston Gazette, six West Virginia counties are joining the state’s anti-bullying initiative. Schools in Cabell, Lincoln, Logan, Mason, Mingo and Wayne counties will kick off the “It Does Matter” campaign today.
Students will participate in activities designed to teach them about what constitutes bullying behavior and how to combat it. They’ll also get tips on how to maintain self-esteem and how to be a positive influence on others. State education officials launched the campaign last fall at Lewis County High School.
It includes a website and promotional posters. There also is a Twitter hashtag, #itdoesmatter, where people can share innovative prevention efforts or acts of kindness.
State officials say more than 57,000 incidents of bullying were reported during the 2011-2012 school year.