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By Ken Rigby

Bullying is now broadly regarded as a major challenge that aff ects many young ones in colleges. it could possibly take many types, together with direct verbal and actual harassment and oblique kinds resembling planned exclusion and the focusing on of people utilizing cyber technology.

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Extra info for Bullying in schools and what to do about it

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Among the weekly-bullied boys who were ‘bothered’, ‘anger’ was the most common reaction (some 63 per cent report feeling angry); among girls there were far fewer (39 per cent). Some boys said they felt sad about it (37 per cent). For girls, feeling sad was by far the most common emotional reaction; some 61 per cent of the girls who had been bullied said this is how they felt. These gender differences are quite large and strongly suggest that for girls depression may be a common outcome of serious and continued bullying.

I have heard such views expressed on occasions by teachers. One teacher, for instance, argued eloquently that it is the bullies of this world who achieve most, and that we do a disservice to children if we deprive them of the necessary qualities and skill to succeed. Therefore we must look at the case against bullying carefully and examine the evidence regarding its effects as dispassionately as we can. qxd 19/9/07 12:45 PM Page 49 CONSEQUENCES OF BULLYING What happens when children are bullied As we have seen, the occasions on which more powerful students seek to hurt or intimidate other students are indeed numerous and at least 50 per cent of students each year, in a mild or more serious way, experience bullying personally.

They stress the fact that many questions can be interpreted in different ways; that children misread questions and answer carelessly; that children will exaggerate and distort their answers; that they will tell you what you want to hear (or what you don’t want to hear); that for them answering a questionnaire is a lark, not to be taken seriously. It is not my intention here to counter such arguments in detail—but to suggest two things: that before employing any questionnaire to assess bullying in schools the instrument be examined to see what has been done to reduce (not eliminate) the likelihood of these (and other) sources of error: and secondly, to consider the problems of getting accurate information that arise in face to face questioning.

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