Community Programs: Local School Boards and Anti-Bullying Programs

Community Programs: Local School Boards and Anti-Bullying Programs

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5285-7.ch004

Abstract

The United States has a federal system. One advantage of a federal system is that it can encourage competition among the states resulting in the testing of new policy solutions and the diffusion of best practices. This holds true for online aggression policy, particularly those addressing cyberbullying. This chapter begins with a discussion of the literature on strategies being adopted at the school board level to limit the spread of cyberbullying. It concludes with an overview of current evaluation research comparing recent policies being implemented by local schools.
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Bullying As A Public Health Problem

The research speaks very clearly and with little ambiguity, in stating that the impact of bullying and its cyber companion is linked to many negative outcomes such as mental health issues, substance abuse, and suicide (Institute of Medicine [IOM] & National Research Council [NRC], 2014; Ttofi & Farrington, 2008, 2012; Polanin, Espelage, & Pigott, 2012; Olweus, 1993, Olweus, Limber & Mihalic, 1999). Bullying is associated with anxiety, depression, failing or near failing school performance, and delinquent behavior. The act of bullying can manifest itself in derogatory comments and name calling; social exclusion and isolation; hitting, kicking, shoving and spitting; lying and spreading false rumors; having personal items and money taken and/or damaged; being threatened or forced to do something not wanted; and, negative actions directed at a another because of race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability (Hazelden, 2016; IOM & NRC, 2014; Olweus, 2013).

Victimization can and does occur in all age groups ranging from children younger than elementary school age and adolescents and young adults high school age and beyond (IOM & NRC, 2014). Students who attend schools with high incidences of bullying have lower grades than students at schools with less bullying (Strom, Thoresen, Wentzel-Larsen, & Dyb, 2013). Poor academic outcomes can be attributed to anxiety, inability to concentrate, and attendance problems (Lee & Cornell, 2009). Participation in bullying, whether as a perpetrator or victim, has long term consequences on the physiological and psychological heath of children and their psychosocial adjustment as adults (Ttofi & Farrington, 2008). For example, headaches, stomach aches, dizziness, bedwetting, and sleep disturbance all may be warning signs that bullying is occurring (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2014).

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