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Protect Your Child Against Bullies

Thursday, September 6, 2001

Bullying behavior might seem to be significant to some people, but it isn't. More than 160,000 kids skip school every day because of bullying.

What is bullying? It is actually a form of aggressive, violent behavior. Bullying occurs when someone repeatedly does or says things to gain power over another person, or to dominate them. Studies show that one in four children who bully have a criminal record before the age of 30.

Sheriff Neustrom says, "Although it isn't easy to define, bullying can take several forms: physical, emotional, verbal or a combination of these. It might involve one child bullying another, a group of children against a single child, or groups against other groups."

Recent data indicate that bullying is pervasive in most schools. Take a look at this:
The National Threat Assessment Center, run by the Secret Service, reported last fall that in more than two-thirds of 37 recent school shootings, the attackers felt "persecuted, bullies, threatened, attacked or injured."
The National School Safety Center estimates that there are more than 525,000 attacks, shakedowns, and robberies per month in public secondary schools in this country.
The NEA estimated that 28 million missed school days per year occur due to fear of attack or intimidation by a bully.
In a survey of 558 students in a midwestern middle school, researchers found that 80 percent of the students had engaged in bullying behaviors in the previous 30 days.

"Whatever form bullying takes," says Sheriff Neustrom, "it is destructive and unhealthy behavior."
Victims of bullying behavior are most likely targeted because of psychological traits more than physical traits. Typical victims tend to be shy, sensitive and insecure.

How can we recognize bullying behavior? Sheriff Neustrom cites the following examples of bullying:

Name-calling, put-downs, cruel teasing
Saying or writing nasty things about others
Deliberately excluding the victims from activities
Not talking to the victim
Threatening the victim with bodily harm
Hitting or kicking the victim
Making the victim do things they don't want to do

Donna Delahoussaye
Public Information Officer
Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office
(337) 236-5814 (337) 232-9211