Intro to Bullying and Its Role in Urban Education
Over half of all children are bullied at some point during their school years and 10% of students are bullied regularly (FactRetriever.com). As a student who went to a school in an urban setting and was bullied and witnessed school violence, the topic of bullying in urban education interests me. From the outset, I was curious to find out what kind of grassroots activism exist for this rampant problem. I am interested in how bullying, because it is something I see as intertwined with education and youth, is particularly being combatted in diverse schools. In schools where there is an array of languages being spoken, religious being practiced, and cultures being displayed bullying can easily germinate and reproduce itself. I believe that many people have a common thread of experiencing or witnessing bullying, but are hesitant to speak about it. It gives me hope that there are grassroots organizations that are looking to challenge this problem and to open up the floor for discourse on how this is something that needs to be rectified.
According to the CDC, bullying is defined as “unwanted aggressive behavior; observed or perceived power imbalance; and repetition of behaviors or high likelihood of repetition” (StopBullying.org).
– 28% of students in grades 6-12 experience bullying
– 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools
– According to one large study, the following percentages of middle schools students had experienced these various types of bullying: name calling (44.2 %); teasing (43.3 %); spreading rumors or lies (36.3%); pushing or shoving (32.4%); hitting, slapping, or kicking (29.2%); leaving out (28.5%); threatening (27.4%); stealing belongings (27.3%); sexual comments or gestures (23.7%); e-mail or blogging (9.9%).
– According to one large study, the following percentages of middle schools students had experienced bullying in these various places at school: classroom (29.3%); hallway or lockers (29.0%); cafeteria (23.4%); gym or PE class (19.5%); bathroom (12.2%); playground or recess (6.2%)
Bullying often gets discounted as “things that boys just do.” This is a grossly incorrect statement, as girls do not get stereotyped as bullies because they resort to tactics that are more covert. According to the AACAP, girls bully more often with verbal threats and less with violence and intimidation (AACAP, 2016). It is widely considered something that gets discounted and overlooked as a problematic issue in schools, particularly urban schools. It is in these urban schools where the problem is even more pervasive. According to AbusiveKids.com, urban schools contribute about 78% of the total cases of violence (AbusiveKids.com). Throughout this website, there will be videos and images that bring light to the issue; furthermore there will be other resources on the site like grassroots organizations, summaries of peer-reviewed and practitioner articles, and my personal reflection on the good work being done.
Throughout the Urban Education course with Professor Santoro, we have learned about marginalized groups that have often times had to find alternative ways to feel like they fit into schools. An example of this was when we went to a talk hosted by Quinby House and watched the film “True Colors.” Many of these students felt isolated and bullied because of their identity. Having the outlet that those students had in the form of theatre performance was awe-inspiring and the amount of positivity that emanated from that particular grassroots organization was, indeed, enough to defeat the bullying and ostracizing that these queer students faced. Change cannot happen easily, and societal issues will not disappear over night. It is the work of people involved in organizations like True Colors and the people that are advocating for change on a community level first that make the biggest difference.