Anti-Bullying Survey Finds Teachers Lack the Support They Need

Instructor: Sandra Lindenmuth
Sadly, as many as one-third of teachers lack the confidence to deal with bullying, while 1 in 4 lack the resources needed to teach their students about bullying. Read on for more insights from Study.com's survey of 3,057 active teachers.

Study.com Bullying Survey Results Make For Grim Reading

The statistics around bullying among school students in the U.S. are sobering. According to Stopbullying.gov, 28% of 6-12th graders have been victims of bullying while 30% say they have bullied others. A recent survey at Study.com discovered similarly dismaying statistics: 44% of teachers don't have the resources they need to tackle bullying, while nearly one-third of teachers lack the confidence to deal with it effectively. 26% - more than 1 in 4 - witness bullying in the classroom between one and three times a week and as many as 17% witness bullying incidents every single day.

Being bullied can lead to severe consequences, including depression, anxiety, isolation and despair. In turn these negative feelings can, tragically, contribute to suicidal thoughts and behavior. Yet despite the ongoing conversation about bullying, there is clearly a deficit in support and resources for teachers to address it effectively in schools.

A former high school teacher, Jeff Calareso, shared his concerns around bullying in schools. ''There is the bullying that happens in front of teachers - we try to help this as best we can. But I really worry about the bullying that happens that teachers don't see, whether at school or online. Students can become withdrawn and depressed and their grades fall.''

The pervasiveness of bullying, and the fact that so many teachers lack the confidence to deal with it, raises concerns about whether schools are implementing effective anti-bullying policies and providing teachers with access to the practical resources they need.

For teachers to be able to prevent bullying, teach appropriate behaviors and provide proper support to victims, schools must have clear policies and procedures for deterring bullies and dealing with incidents and ongoing situations. Schools must also have leadership teams in place that are able to create a strong collective, unified culture, fostering an atmosphere in which bullying cannot flourish. Schools can also equip teachers by providing them access to online resources and supplying them with anti-bullying materials.

The Consequences of Bullying

Bullying has distressing consequences for every aspect of victims' lives - consequences that can feed off each other and spiral out of control without proper intervention and support. Mental and physical health can be impacted as victims suffer from depression, lose motivation and withdraw from normal activities. Bullying victims can also become distant from their friends and disengaged from school, leading to further isolation and deteriorating academic performance.

According to Stopbullying.gov, verbal and social bullying are the most common, while physical bullying happens less often and cyber bullying the least of all, though the last may be under-reported. Certainly, given the easy anonymity to be found online and the insidious nature of cyber-bullying, which can reach and harm victims even in their safest spaces, it is important to monitor students and report any concerns over their behavior and temperament.

Anti-Bullying Action

Educating students effectively about bullying requires a holistic approach from all staff within a school. Teachers educate students about the types of bullying, strategies for intervention and reporting, and how to combat it effectively. And school staff members must set clear expectations consistently across the school, model proper behavior and shape school's culture to ensure that consideration, respect, empathy and self-esteem are valued highly.

When both of these lines of action are combined with improved access to teacher resources and the implementation of strong anti-bullying policies, we may see a reduction in the numbers reported here. But it is only with a concerted effort from all of us involved in the education of today's young people, that these numbers - and the unhappy lives that they represent - are likely to improve.

Explore Study.com's anti-bullying resources for more information, lesson plans and resources to use with your students, and to combat bullying in your school.

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