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SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

Bullying, defined as the persistent mistreatment and intimidation of individuals by those who are stronger or in a position of power, has infiltrated the lives of over 75% of schoolchildren nationwide. Each day brings these children a sense of dread and fear as they face the torment that awaits them. Cruel comments, physical harm, and relentless humiliation become their daily companions. 

Bullies, skilled in their tactics, exploit their victims’ social status and deviance, labeling and isolating them from their support networks until they feel utterly alone. In this digital age, Bullying has found new avenues through social media, exacerbating the suffering of those targeted (Cornell, Ph.D., and Limber, Ph.D., 2016). It begs the question: What happens to those who endure such relentless Bullying?  

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

The effects of Bullying extend far beyond the schoolyard, casting a dark shadow over every aspect of a victim’s life. The cruelty they face at school follows them home, leaving no respite from the torment. This unrelenting pressure often goes individuals feeling trapped, desperate for a way out. 

Some may endure the cruelty, suffering in silence, while others contemplate drastic measures such as suicide or even joining the ranks of the bullies themselves. It is a sad reflection on our society that Bullying plays a significant role in numerous adolescents’ mental and physical scars.

Statistics paint a grim picture of the widespread nature and devastating impact of Bullying. Over 75% of students have experienced harassment, Bullying, or cyberbullying, leading to physical, psychological, and emotional abuse. Shockingly, over 20% of students admit to bullying themselves. 

The fear of Bullying is so pervasive that on any given day, an average of 160,000 children stay away from school, terrified of the repercussions they might face. Within a month, approximately 282,000 students fall victim to physical attacks by bullies. The consequences of such relentless Bullying are dire, with victims more likely to experience suicidal thoughts. 

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

Disturbingly, statistics from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control reveal that between 2000 and 2010, 300 to 450 children aged 12 to 15 took their own lives each year—almost one child per day (Pearce, 2013). Suicide stands as the third-leading cause of death among teenagers.

Recognizing and understanding Bullying as a severe problem are relatively recent developments. While Bullying has been present for decades, it was in the late 20th and early 21st centuries that it gained significant attention. 

The term “bully” was first publicly introduced in 1862, and since then, pivotal milestones have shaped our understanding and approach to addressing Bullying. In the United States, the passage of the first anti-bullying legislation occurred only in 1999 in Georgia. It was not until 2013 that 49-50 states enacted anti-bullying laws. 

However, the definition and scope of Bullying still vary across the globe, leading to confusion and controversy surrounding the concept. The lack of a universally accepted definition and the diversity of scientific findings make finding a solution to this complex problem even more challenging.

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

A significant turning point in the fight against Bullying occurred in the mid-1970s when psychology professor Dan Olweus conducted the first comprehensive study. His groundbreaking work paved the way for developing the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP) in 2007. 

This program, recognized as one of the most well-organized and effective bullying prevention initiatives, has reduced bullying cases in schools worldwide (“Olweus Bullying Prevention Program”). Following its introduction, numerous prevention programs, activities, and institutions have emerged, aiming to address Bullying in all its forms, including the emerging phenomenon of cyberbullying facilitated by technological advancements. 

However, despite these efforts, no definitive method or research has emerged as a foolproof solution to eradicate Bullying. Bullying lawsuits have become increasingly prevalent since 2007, emphasizing the urgency of finding comprehensive solutions to prevent further victimization.

Bullying is a severe issue that causes harm to its victims. Solutions are challenging due to a lack of definition and complexity. Ongoing research is crucial for ending Bullying and promoting safety. Empathy and respect are necessary for a world where every child can thrive without Bullying. SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools. 

Theory

Sociologists delve into numerous inquiries that may explain how society can effectively address and end Bullying and its harmful effects. One of the fundamental questions in sociology is how groups influence individual human behavior. By examining this question, we can gain insights into how it relates to Bullying and suicide. 

Social groups significantly impact an individual’s behavior, particularly during their formative years. In early life, individuals become entangled with various social groups, some of which align with their social class, share similar experiences, pursue common goals, and adhere to shared beliefs and upbringings. 

People desire a sense of belonging and connection to something greater than themselves. Social orders provide a communication framework, shared values, associations, collective security, and an understanding of ethics, norms, and objectives.

On the other hand, Pearce (2013) points out that an “out-group” is a group to which individuals feel they do not belong and with whom they share little identity. Being bullied often occurs within interactions with the out-group, making the targeted individual feel different or alienated. 

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

However, joining a “reference group,” a group with which individuals identify psychologically and use it as a benchmark for evaluating themselves and their behavior, can alleviate the sense of being different, as within this group, what is considered “weird” becomes the norm.

Deviance emerges as one of the most common reasons people become bullying targets. Sociologists define deviance as a deviation from established social norms. Everyone deviates from certain norms, making the majority somewhat deviant. 

Deviants disrupt these societal expectations and often face Bullying as a consequence. However, determining what is truly “normal” poses a challenge. The concept of normalcy varies among individuals and is influenced by cultural and contextual factors. For example, what may be considered a norm for someone living in a city, such as commuting on a subway, may not hold for someone residing in a rural area.

Determining what is considered normal largely rests with the dominant group, which can label certain behaviors or appearances as deviant. Individuals who deviate from the expectations of the dominant group often face pressure to conform to fit in and avoid being bullied. 

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

The authority of the dominant group is influenced by social standing, which refers to an individual’s distinct status within a social context. Social standing can be ascribed, assigned at birth, or achieved through personal choices and accomplishments. Those with higher social class are perceived to have more significant beliefs and hold the power to dictate “social norms” that others are expected to conform to, even if they are unattainable for the majority.

In every group, regardless of its status, a leader emerges. The leader possesses authority, dominance, power, and the ability to direct or influence the behavior of others. In the case of the dominant group, the leader is often seen as a bully, as non-compliance with their expectations may lead to social exclusion. 

This creates a challenging situation for bystanders who witness Bullying but hesitate to intervene. Fearing that they, too, may become targets, bystanders often choose to remain silent and watch others being bullied rather than risk their social standing. This phenomenon highlights the power dynamics within groups and the potential for individuals to be coerced into conformity (Kuther, 2006).

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

Individuals with low social status often become targets of Bullying due to their master status. The master status is a specific status within an individual’s overall status set that takes precedence over other groups (Kuther, 2006). This positive or negative status defines the individual and may attract bullying behaviors.

Understanding the complex interplay of societal groups, norms, power dynamics, and individual identities provides valuable insights into the dynamics of Bullying and its effects on individuals. Efforts can be directed toward eliminating the harmful consequences of Bullying and reducing the risk of suicide. By recognizing the influence of groups on behavior, society can work towards creating inclusive and accepting environments that promote Empathy, respect, and support for all individuals.

Fostering a sense of belonging and inclusion within schools and communities is crucial. To achieve this, various strategies can be implemented. First, educational programs can raise awareness about the impact of Bullying and its long-term consequences. 

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

These programs should focus on educating students about the adverse effects of Bullying, promoting Empathy, and teaching positive conflict-resolution skills. Schools can implement anti-bullying policies that emphasize a zero-tolerance approach and provide support systems for victims and perpetrators of Bullying. Creating safe spaces, such as peer support groups or counseling services, can offer a refuge for individuals who experience Bullying.

Furthermore, it is essential to challenge societal norms and stereotypes perpetuating Bullying. By promoting diversity, acceptance and embracing individual differences, we can create an environment where everyone feels valued and respected. This requires collaborative efforts from families, schools, community organizations, and policymakers to create a culture of inclusivity and tolerance.

In conclusion, sociological perspectives provide valuable insights into the dynamics of Bullying and its harmful effects. By understanding the influence of social groups, norms, power dynamics, and individual identities, we can develop strategies to address and ultimately end Bullying. 

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

Creating inclusive and accepting environments, promoting Empathy, and challenging societal norms are essential steps toward building a society where Bullying is no longer tolerated and individuals can thrive without fear of being targeted. We can create a safer and more compassionate world through collective efforts.

Bullying takes various forms and targets individuals based on different attributes within their status set, such as weight, family background, or appearance. However, bullies often focus on exploiting a person’s master status. In society, individuals of higher rates can determine which quality becomes someone’s master status, whether positive or negative. When bullies target their victims, they tend to label them with a negative master status, constantly judging and teasing them based on their negative ascribed or achieved status.

Inderbitzin, Bates, and Gainey (2012) emphasized the impact of being given a negative master status by bullies. Such labeling significantly influences a person’s behavior and self-perception. Labeled individuals tend to see themselves as deviant, perpetuating their behavior accordingly.

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

The label also shapes how others perceive and treat them, often overshadowing their other qualities or statuses. Labeled individuals may lose respect and suffer reputational damage. When subjected to constant belittlement and inferiority by a bully, individuals may eventually internalize those negative perceptions. 

Charles Horton Cooley’s looking-glass self-theory supports this notion, suggesting that our perception of ourselves is influenced by how we believe others perceive us. While our self-perception may not always be accurate, it elicits emotional responses such as pride, mortification, or humiliation. For example, if a bully repeatedly tells someone they are fat, the individual may initially brush it off. However, sustained harassment over time can lead the victim to believe others view them as overweight.

Understanding the motivations behind Bullying is crucial. While most individuals are not bullies, Bullying is considered deviant. Sociocultural learning theories explore how deviant behaviors are learned and the conditions facilitating such learning (Inderbitzin, Bates, and Gainey, 2012). Sociocultural learning theory can help explain why bullies behave as they do. 

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

In many cases, bullies have been victims of Bullying or are acting out due to challenging home environments. For example, a child who experiences abuse at home may redirect their anger by bullying more minor and less powerful children. The prevalence of Bullying has been amplified in recent years due to the accessibility of computers and social media platforms. 

Cyberbullying, in particular, has become increasingly prevalent, with anonymous screen names and online anonymity allowing bullies to target victims remotely, extending the impact beyond school boundaries (Todd, A.10). This rise in digital Bullying has prompted the addition of the term “cyberbullying” to the dictionary—platforms like Ask. 

Fm enables anonymous Bullying from the relative safety of cyberspace. The detachment from personal identification and the lack of face-to-face confrontation may diminish bullies’ remorse and embolden those who would not confront their victims directly (Pearce, A.10).

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

Despite its familiarity, Bullying is not a natural part of maturing. Its effects can be long-lasting, inflicting psychological and physical scars that persist into adulthood. Bullying victims often experience heightened fear, anxiety, diminished acceptance, increased health problems, lower academic achievement, and reduced self-esteem compared to non-bullied individuals. 

The trauma of Bullying can lead to inward-directed anger, resulting in depression, anxiety, and even thoughts of suicide. Bullying experiences have also been linked to violence, including fatal school shootings (Kuther 12-13).

Addressing Bullying requires concerted efforts from all levels of society. Educational programs, community initiatives, and legislation can raise awareness about the damaging effects of Bullying and promote Empathy, inclusivity, and positive conflict-resolution skills. 

By fostering supportive environments, challenging stereotypes, and utilizing technological platforms responsibly, society can work towards creating a culture that rejects Bullying and provides a safe and nurturing space for everyone to thrive. SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

Control and Punishment:

Controlling and addressing Bullying requires navigating the complexities of state and federal laws, particularly regarding civil rights protections for victims. Schools face the challenge of determining which antidiscrimination rules apply to bullied students, resulting in different legal obligations depending on various factors such as gender, race, religion, national origin, and disability status. The multifaceted nature of Bullying necessitates a comprehensive understanding of the legal framework to effectively protect and support victims (Olweus & Limber, 2010).

Recognizing that those who engage in Bullying often have a history of being tormented is essential. Breaking this vicious cycle requires collective action and a shift in social norms. As members of society, we are responsible for addressing and combatting Bullying, striving for positive change, and ultimately ending its destructive consequences. 

The first step towards stopping the perpetuation of Bullying lies within ourselves. Each individual must be mindful of their words and actions, as even seemingly insignificant details can contribute to transformative outcomes, including preventing tragic losses and preserving lives. We must remember that words are powerful and can inflict harm, whether uttered in person or transmitted online.

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

The Olweus Bullying Prevention Program (OBPP), a comprehensive school-wide initiative designed to reduce Bullying and improve peer relations, has garnered significant attention from researchers, media, and policymakers. 

Originating in Norway, this program has been implemented in elementary, middle, and junior high schools, yielding promising results. Large-scale studies conducted in Norway have demonstrated the effectiveness of the OBPP in reducing bullying incidents and improving the overall school climate. 

Evaluations of the program in diverse settings within the United States have shown varying degrees of consistency but have generally indicated a positive impact on students’ self-reported involvement in Bullying and antisocial behavior. The dissemination efforts of the OBPP in Norway and the United States are also highlighted, emphasizing the importance of implementing evidence-based strategies to address Bullying (Olweus & Limber, 2010).

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

By combining legal measures with comprehensive and evidence-based prevention programs like the OBPP, society can take significant strides toward controlling and eradicating Bullying. It requires a collaborative effort from educators, parents, policymakers, and the community to create a safe and inclusive environment that nurtures positive peer relationships and fosters Empathy and respect. By actively engaging in prevention strategies, raising awareness, and promoting a culture of kindness and acceptance, we can work towards a future where Bullying is no longer tolerated, and all individuals can thrive free from fear and harm.

Policy:

To combat Bullying, families, schools, and communities must adopt proactive measures and promote positive behavior. Role models play a significant role in shaping children’s attitudes, so it is essential to ensure that those whom children look up to exhibit anti-bullying ideals. Early implementation of anti-bullying strategies is vital to prevent the perpetuation of bullying behaviors. This can include both punishments for observed bullying incidents and praise as a reward for anti-bullying efforts.

SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

Cyberbullying poses a unique challenge, but media platforms can take action by implementing programs that prohibit negative words and profanity. Parental Bullying can be addressed by organizing community-funded domestic behavior seminars and providing one-on-one clinics with psychiatrists. Parents also play a crucial role in preventing cyberbullying by limiting their children’s internet usage, restricting access to sites known for cyberbullying, and monitoring their online activities.

Communities can take various steps to prevent Bullying on a larger scale. Initiatives like Rachel’s Challenge, which visits schools nationwide, educate youth about the devastating consequences of Bullying. By sharing the story of a young girl who was the first victim of the Columbine shootings—a tragic event influenced by Bullying—, this initiative empowers students to prevent Bullying in their own lives. 

Conclusion:

In conclusion, all forms of Bullying have profoundly adverse effects on all parties involved, whether at school, the workplace, or even home. Prolonged exposure to Bullying can have long-term consequences for both victims and bullies, significantly impacting their adult lives in various ways. 

Communities must take precautionary measures and promptly address Bullying. Bullying is a dangerous and harmful activity that must be addressed in every situation. By implementing preventive measures and fostering a culture of Empathy and respect, we can create safer environments where Bullying is not tolerated. SOC 3400 Unit 10 Assignment 1 Research Project Bullying in Schools

References

  1. Anti-Bullying laws by state: An Introduction to U.S. State Anti-Bullying Legislation. BRIM anti-bullying software for schools. Retrieved on March 14, 2017, from https://antibullyingsoftware.com/anti-bullying-laws/
  2. Bully. Dictionary.com. Retrieved on March 14, 2017.
  3. Cornell, D. G., Ph.D. and Limber, S. P., Ph.D. (February 2016). Do U.S. laws go far enough to prevent Bullying at school? American Psychological Association, Vol 47, No. 2. Retrieved from
    http://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/02/ce-corner.aspx
  4. Effects of Bullying. Stopbullying.gov. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved on March 14, 2017, from 
    https://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/effects/
  5. Inderbitzin, M., Bates, A., Gainey, R. (2012). Deviance and Social Control: A Sociological Perspective. SAGE Publications, Inc.
  6. Kuther, T. L. (2006). Understanding Bullying. American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress. Retrieved on March 15, 2017, from http://www.peelearlyyears.com/pdf/Understanding%20Bullying.pdf
  7. Mitka, M. (2012). School Bullying. JAMA, 308(2), 123. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7885
  8. Olweus, D., & Limber, S. P. (2010). Bullying in School: Evaluation and Dissemination of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 80, 124-134. doi:10.1111/j.1939-0025.2010.01015.x
  9. Pearce, M. (2013, September 13). Officials Cite Cyberbullying in Girl’s Death. Los Angeles Times, A.10. Retrieved from
    http://articles.latimes.com/2013/sep/12/nation/la-na-nn-florida-cyberbullying-20130912
  10. Prevent Bullying. Stop Bullying.gov. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Retrieved on March 15, 2017, from
    https://www.stopbullying.gov/prevention/at-school/
  11. Todd, D. M. (2013, June 05). Defining Aggressors in the Age of Online Bullying. Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, A.10. Retrieved from
    http://www.post-gazette.com/business/businessnews/2013/06/05/Defining-aggressors-in-the-age-of-online-bullying/stories/201306050230
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