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Who Does Bullying Hurt? Everyone.

January 30, 2009

The January CGA Speaker Series focused on bullying.  Aside from getting some advice on identifying bullying and parenting a victim, the most interesting parts for me were the statistics:

  • Students who are bullies by age 8 are three times more likely to be convicted of a crime by age 30.  They are less likely to attend college or to acquire a good job.  By the age of 23, 35-40%  of male bullies had three or more convictions.
  • On the other side, students who are bullied are found to be more depressed & to have lower self-esteem.  They are also more likely to commit suicide if they receive no outside help.  Victims of bullies are also likely to build up resentment toward others that may result in violent retaliation later.  One of the key findings by the Secret Service Report investigating the various school shootings is that many of the attackers in those incidents felt bullied, persecuted, or injured by others prior to the attach.
  • Given these findings, it is crucial that we develop a plan to combat bullying behavior so that all students can feel safe & secure in their learning environment.  (Olweus, 1993)
  • 30% of all students are bullies at some point.
  • 60% of all high school students are targets of cyberbullying.

Wow.  Sobering statistics.

Although the speakers alluded to the idea that gifted kids’ tendencies to be extremely sensitive, empathetic (reference the research on Dubrowski’s over-excitabilities) and just plain different can lead to becoming victims, I would contend that some of them also become bullies and may be able to get away with it because of their intelligence and ability to read people.

What can we do?  Raise children with both kindness and discipline.   Support school programs that aim to prevent bullying.

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