School bullying - Education Queensland

Vodcast One:
School Bullying
Dr Ken Rigby
The nature of
bullying and
how schools can
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School bullying: the evidence
Contrary to some alarmist views in many countries the level of
bullying in schools has been gradually declining (Molcho et al,
Numerous evaluative studies have shown that some
intervention programs have reduced bullying - by varying
amounts (Smith et al, 2004)
However, the level is still seriously high. In a large scale
Australian survey published in 2009 by Cross et al, it was
estimated that 1 in 4 students reported being bullied during the
previous few weeks.
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What bullying is
The systematic abuse of power
over someone
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Elements of bullying
A desire to dominate or hurt someone
Action by the perpetrator(s) that is unfair
Occurring in a situation in which there is an imbalance of power
The target cannot provide an adequate defence
Typically the bullying actions are repeated
To produce a sense in the target of being oppressed and
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Stereotypical bully
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Modes of bullying
Name calling
Cruel teasing or taunting
Throwing objects
Happy slapping
Using weapons
Staring at someone
another person to verbally abuse
Spreading malicious rumours
Anonymous phone calls
Offensive text messages and emails, putting
demeaning content on websites
and unfairly excluding someone
(also verbal)
Happy slapping
Removing and hiding things
turning away
A further classification notes the motives of the perpetrator,
e.g. driven by ethnic prejudice, homophobia or more simply
dislike of person’s appearance or behaviour.
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What is needed before you can
respond to bullying at your school?
Evidence of bullying
– The prevalence
– The kinds of bullying
Among whom it is happening
– In what years or classes
– In what areas at the school
How students are feeling about it
– Those who are being victimised
– Other students
An anti-bullying policy
– Based upon an understanding of the situation at your school
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The anti-bullying policy
Broadly, policy to counter bullying in Education Queensland
comes under the heading of a Responsible Behaviour Plan
for Students
Catholic and Independent schools should refer to their
sector and school policies
However, Queensland education sectors - like many other
educational authorities around the world - have recognised
there is something distinctive about bullying behaviour and
this justifies the development and implementation of an
explicit anti-bullying policy
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What is distinctive about bullying?
It is a sub-set of aggressive behaviours resulting in some individuals
being repeatedly and unfairly hurt by students who are more
powerful than they are
The effects of such behaviour are now recognised as extremely
serious and often long lasting
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Four purposes of the anti-bullying
To declare the school’s intention to address bullying
To explain why the school is doing so
To provide an outline in general terms about how the school is
tackling the problem
To inform all members of the school community: teachers,
students and parents about what the school is committed to
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Suggested elements of an antibullying policy
A strong statement about the unacceptability of bullying at
school and a resolve to prevent it from happening
A clear definition of bullying and what it can involve
An assertion of the rights of members of the school
community NOT to be subjected to bullying and an
acceptance of responsibility to deal with it as best we can
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Policy suggestions continued
4. A list of things the school has agreed to do to prevent
 Provide good surveillance of student behaviour
 Discuss with students issues relating to bullying
 Help students to develop attitudes and values that will
guide them toward relating positively with others - and
skills to help themselves - and others - when bullying
5. A general description of what the school will do when
cases of bullying arise
6. A resolution to revisit the policy and revise it (if necessary) in the
light of evidence every few years
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Some suggested questions for
What forms of bullying occur most often at your
school and what effects have you noticed among
those who have been targeted?
Consider your school’s anti-bullying policy in the
light of the suggestions made in this video about
possible content. Which suggestions may be helpful?
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