School is one of the most important social institutions that have an educational and educative function. Safety is a critical element of a school that requires constant monitoring and development. Bullying encroaches on school safety, so now the question of what to do with bullies is quite relevant. The answer is quite apparent if a child is sick, he needs a psychologist, complex treatment, and special attention. If the bullying is caused by reasons other than diseases and deviations, it is necessary to find a rational solution. There are two opposing views, which argue that bullies should be automatically kicked out of school after the first incident, or this problem requires a different solution.
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Not Expelling Approaches
The second approach will be discussed first. Intervention is one of the most commonly used methods of fighting and preventing bullying. It is possible to interfere in bullying at different structural levels of the school and with different strategies. Most often, the teacher performs this function as the person closest to the students in the structure of the school. Predictors of success also included intervention strategy (authoritarian-punitive, supportive-individual, supportive-cooperative intervention), a form of intimidation (physical, verbal, relative, cybernetic), and the intimidating role of the student (bully, victim, bystander) in a particular situation (Wachs et al., 2019). The teacher could engage with the victim to support and prevent depression and anxiety or with the bully for educational conversation. At other structural levels of the school, the headmaster or psychologist may take on the problem. Often, at this stage, the involvement of parents is required for a general search for the reasons for such a child’s behavior.
Reasons for Treatment
Supporters of the second approach argue that excluding bullies from school does not allow them to learn the correct behavior. The causes of bullying almost always lie not in the conditions of a particular case but the child himself. A change in the team during adolescence only adds more stress, and a change in environment does not guarantee an end to bullying. In addition, if you look at the other side of the problem, then it is pretty likely that in conditions where bullying has already manifested itself, a new one may arise. Therefore, prevention is needed by teaching communication skills and fostering respect for each other. Moreover, schools need to devote forces and resources to research the causes and sources of bullying and fight not with the consequence but with the cause of the problem.
While anti-intimidation policies are widespread, little is known about their effectiveness. Anti-bullying policies can effectively reduce bullying if their content is based on evidence and sound theory and if they are implemented with a high degree of confidence (Hall, 2017). In other cases, they resort to a policy of exclusion. Some people find this approach harsh, strict, and very rude. However, the same effect is caused by bullying, leading the victim to disorders that negatively affect health. One of the options for this approach is to relocate bullies to Renaissance School. In addition to basic subjects, they are taught practical, tolerant, and respectful communication skills. After such training, they are given a chance to return to their old school. The harshness of measures at the initial stage of bullying is compensated by a different attitude towards the problem student.
However, not every bullying can be noticed and taken action. Cyberbullying is widespread nowadays. Bullies can influence victims by staying anonymous. Mood changes and increased anxiety of victims can also remain outside the school’s educational process and presence. However, even excluding anonymity, this problem leads to more dire consequences for both students and the school as a whole. Children become different personalities in real life and online, leading to mental disorders for both the victims and the bullies themselves. The development of technology contributes to the dynamics of the development of bullying and requires an equally fast pace of finding solutions to such problems.
Moreover, bullies can cause physical harm, which puts children in danger at school. It is an unacceptable case because children see examples of violence that are being fought far outside of school worldwide. In addition, the bully is often a bright personality, so his activities quickly find attention and publicity at school. Physical harm has different degrees of severity and is regulated by criminal law, which absolutely should not occur in school activities.
Silence of the Victims
Another problem with the consequences of bullying is the silence of the victims. Children suffering from bullying do not report them for fear of the bully’s revenge. They don’t even say the issue to their parents, let alone teachers or school leaders; as long as there is no guarantee that the bully will be kicked out of school, fear of retaliation takes precedence over the opportunity to share his problem. Unfortunately, sometimes long silence of victims turns into suicide. Regardless of the anti-bullying policy chosen by the school, it is constantly necessary to research the subject of this problem. Such activities are essential to avoid accidents, the development of fear and depression in children, and the deterioration of academic performance and the educational process in general.
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However, it is worth noting that there will be little intraclass research since the reasons that shape the behavior of a bully or a victim are much more profound. Each problem is an individual case, where the bully had his or her motives, and the victim had his or her concerns. For some bullies, expulsion from school will not have the desired impact, while a straightforward punishment will be enough for others. Some victims need experience dealing with a bully to develop their defensive capabilities. Nevertheless, despite the two polarly different approaches to working with bullies, everyone agrees that the bully should be punished in any way. It is to prevent the bully from developing a sense of impunity and freedom for his negative actions.
Finally, considering the humanity of the school bully exclusion approach, it is worth noting that even school exclusion is a second chance for bullies. It is not life imprisonment, but only a change of scenery, where more attention will be paid to students’ communication skills, a sense of respect, and many other norms of behavior. If the problem of bullying takes on a national character, then the experience of correctional schools can be applied to all general education schools. The importance and effectiveness of preventive measures will not be as controversial as dropping out of school. Consequently, bullying is an urgent problem and requires immediate solutions with a mandatory individual assessment of each specific case, as deep as possible analysis of the situation and establishing a dialogue with the bully and the victim. Moreover, do not forget that every bully at school is still a child with his own problems, who has not yet taken shape as a person, and too rough measures can affect his psyche much worse than the result of his bullying. Each case must be considered separately, and always with the involvement of expert school psychologists, teachers, the victim, the bully and their parents.
Hall, W. (2017). The effectiveness of policy interventions for school bullying: A systematic review. Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research, 8(1), 45-69.
Wachs, S., Bilz, L., Niproschke, S., & Schubarth, W. (2019). Bullying intervention in schools: A multilevel analysis of teachers’ success in handling bullying from the students’ perspective. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 39(5), 642-668.