Bullying behavior may seem insignificant compared to kids bringing guns to school or getting involved with drugs but this is incorrect. There appears to
be a pattern in school shootings that the shooter was a victim of bullying. In most cases, it was discovered that the shooter resorted to violence only after the school administration repeatedly failed to intervene in cases of bullying, as in the case of the shootings in Virginia and at Columbine.
Bullying should not be dismissed as part of growing up. It may be an early form of aggressive, violent behavior. For example, one in four children who bully will have a criminal record by the age of 30.
Bullies often cause serious problems for schools, families and neighborhoods. Because of the repetitive nature of bullying, a school child will experience fear and anxiety about the next confrontation. This may cause a child to avoid school, carry a gun or knife for protection, or even commit a violent act.
Bullying and teasing top the list of children school troubles. The pain brought about by taunts and threats at school appears to have played a role in recent fatal school shootings, which is evidence that this unrelieved stress may explode into tragedy. More than two-thirds of school shooters said they felt persecuted or bullied by other students. The motive for the shootings was oftenrevenge.3,8,9
Bullying can affect the social environment of a school, creating a climate of fear among students, inhibiting their ability to learn, and leading to other antisocial behavior. Through research and evaluation, successful programs to recognize, prevent, and effectively intervene in bullying behavior have been developed and replicated in schools across the country.18,19
The National School Safety Center agrees that bullying is the most enduring and underrated problem in American schools today. Many children in our nation’s schools are robbed of their opportunity to learn because they are bullied and victimized daily. Bullying exacts a terrible toll on children, and the scars can last a lifetime.