National Bullying Prevention Month Shines a Spotlight on All the Victims
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Schools and parents are acutely aware of the short- and long-term effects bullying has on the kids being harassed – such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, self-harm, substance abuse and aggression. But there isn't as much research or awareness that focuses on the bullies and those who witness bullying and don't intervene. And the impact can be just as significant and long term. National Bullying Prevention Month helps to drive awareness of this issue.
Learn4Life, a high school dropout recovery program, has thousands of students who come to their learning centers because they have been bullied and are afraid to go to school. "So it's no surprise that those kids quickly fall behind their classmates and are at risk of dropping out," explained Craig Beswick, trauma-informed educator. "We infuse instruction with programs that foster self-awareness and compassion, and we've eliminated structured classrooms where the same students sit together for hours each week, become bored and look for ways to cause trouble."
Beswick points out that quite often, bullies have been bullied themselves. According to StopBullying.gov, it is those who bully and are also bullied who are at the greatest risk for negative mental and physical health consequences, compared to those who only bully or are only being bullied. These children and adolescents may experience a combination of psychological problems, a negative perception of themselves and others, poor social skills, conduct problems, and rejection by their peer group.
Even more, students who watch as their peers endure the verbal or physical abuses of another student could become as psychologically distressed, if not more so, new research from the American Psychological Association suggests.
"Maintaining a safe environment for our students is a cornerstone of the Learn4Life program, and understanding all parties involved in bullying is an essential component," said Beswick. "Many of our at-risk students have witnessed or been victims of bullying, so we're hyper-aware of how this long-term trauma interferes with their ability to learn and interact with others."
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