A couple of days ago one of our Crime Watch coordinators sent me the statement below, from the Connect with Kids website. With all the talk about “needing” to train people on mental health (a serious problem in our community), one aspect that has not been addressed is the “bullying” issue, a mental health problem in itself.
This is an area that we can focus on at a very early age, which is why we get so many requests for presentations from the elementary schools and even preschools. I wanted to share this definition with you since so many of you wrote me after reading last week’s column on our Youth Crime Watch program.
Here is how Connect with Kids defines bullying:
As schools and society grapple with the bullying prevention challenge, it is important to first ask and understand: Just what defines bullying?
Clear definition is even more critical now as schools face new responsibilities and liabilities related to the issue. It is important that we elevate the national dialogue on issues like caring, kindness, compassion and acceptance. But criticism and bullying are not the same thing, and we do a disservice to children, educators and society as a whole when we make the two synonymous.
According to the 2008–09 School Crime Supplement of the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, 28 percent of students in grades 6–12 experienced bullying. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, 20 percent of students in grades 9–12 experienced bullying.
There are four key elements of bullying.
• Pain: Someone is physically, psychologically, or sexually hurting someone else.
• Power: The person who is doing the bullying is perceived as more powerful and is usually attempting to wield some power over the victim.
• Persistence: Generally the bullying is persistent, which means it happens more than once – it’s a repeated act.
• Permission: Usually someone else knows about it and is allowing it to happen.
For more information, please visit their website: connectwithkids.com/bullying-defined. As a parent, it’s difficult to sometimes understand or even fathom this behavior until you read about it or actually start to experience it in your child.
Many children as early as 5 or 6 years old start to show signs of bullying. I get emails all the time from parents and teachers. If somehow we can start addressing the bullying issue, through education and prevention at an early stage, we will see the pattern of “mental health” issue in these children and start helping them early.
I am hoping that Tallahassee or Washington starts to accept the fact that “bullying” is the gateway to many problems and starts to address their relevance in our society, it will make a difference in the future for some of these kids. If you would like some information on “bullying” feel free to contact our office and we will mail you some great brochures especially designed for parents.