"We Should Have Done More: An Examination of Childhood Bullying"
Mentor:Rebecca Overmyer-Velazquez, Associat Professor of Sociology, Whittier College
According to an advocacy program to stop bullying from occurring in schools, “282,000 students are physically attacked in schools each month” (2011 Bullying Program 2011). If this is the case, approximately 2,538,000 students will be physically attacked each year. There has been some research on bullying prevention and specifically effective programs that schools should implement to avert bullying from occurring. However, there has been no research as to whether these suggested programs are successful. What characterizes successful bullying prevention programs and why might these programs fail? I conducted my research with students and teachers over a period of two months at an elementary school that currently has a bullying prevention program. My interactions with the students involved observations of specific aggressive behavior, such as pushing, hitting, and any type of verbal assault such as name-calling. Over 90% of my observations were incidence free. I interviewed teachers about their experiences and opinions towards the bullying prevention program. The opinions of the teachers varied from praise to skepticism. However, the majority did recognize a positive effect with the decrease in aggressive behavior due to the program. The key feature of the program’s success is its attention towards verbal recognition for anti-bullying behavior. My findings have shown that although there is room for improvement the prevention program appears effective thus far as evidenced by low prevalence of bullying behavior and a higher degree of awareness from teachers.