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Researcher: Re-Think Bullying

Researcher: Re-Think Bullying

Susan Swearer, an educational psychologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, says four decades of research conclude that policies to handle the problem of bullying in schools is largely ineffective, and says that because of the dire life-long consequences bullying can have on students, better research should be done to fix the problem.

"'Bullying is a peer relationship problem,'" Swearer said, according to "'It's not once a bully, always a bully; once a victim, always a victim. Kids move in and out of these roles. What we're trying to do as a research field is to move the conversation beyond punishment-based strategies to social justice and more sophisticated strategies.'"

Swearer said that although all 50 states have added some kind of anti-bullying legislation to state books and that Congress is even considering making a federal law, these efforts are often ineffective because they see bullying as a traditional act with one perpetrator and one victim.

On the subject of bullying being done by one bully onto one victim, she said, "'That rarely happens. It's a much more complicated social behavior.'"

"In some cases, bullying victims go on to bully others. Many bullies use aggressive tactics to climb their way up the school's social ladder. Some schools are more prone to bullying behavior, as are some neighborhoods where violence and aggression are the norm," the article said.

In the May issue of of American Psychologist, Swearer is one of two lead scholars on "Four Decades of Research on School Bullying: an introduction," where she seeks to use her research to help better define bullying and encourage others in the field to do the same.

Afterall, bullying is without question a rampant problem in schools across the country. Swearer's research indicates that one in three students claim to be victims of bullying, and one in eight students admit to being bullies at one point in time.

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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