Michelle James: Hi I'm Michelle James, a counselor General Smallwood Middle School in Indian Head Maryland.
Today I'm talking about the growing concern over bullying. Bullying occurs when someone hurts or scares another person on purpose repeatedly. It is about power and control and it can lead to lower achievement decreased self-esteem and in extreme cases suicide. Research shows that students who are bullied are more likely to have poor grades and skip school more often. They often are diagnosed as depressed and anxious.
Students who bully are more likely to get into fights vandalize property and drop out of school. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, 60% of boys who were bullies in middle school have at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24. Today all by the handful of states have anti-bullying laws in place. As school counselors we are constantly on the lookout for signs of bullying in school. We encourage other students to intervene and let an adult know immediately.
Our programs teach empathy, tolerance and awareness. We also let students know that it is our role to call in parents or if necessary law enforcement. And research shows these programs are working. When students intervene on behalf of the bully classmate, the bullying starts within 10 seconds and more than half of the cases. What are the signs we look for and what should do as well, physical aggression, that's hitting, kicking, pushing, choking or punching.
Verbal aggression threatening, taunting, teasing, starting rumors and hate speech. The most important thing for all adults to know and do is not to ignore this. Bullying is not a right of path for children. If you see signs that your child is being bullied, call school staff, counselors and administrators, don't wait until it's too late.