Bulletin Reports

Bullying in Schools

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) has released Bullying in Schools in support of renewed local efforts to prevent the consequences of bullying. The publication provides school administrators, teachers, counselors, and law enforcement officials with practical information on how to identify bullying behavior, reduce the incidence of bullying, and mitigate its impact. It also offers guidance to officials on how to determine the extent of bullying in their schools, to address its causes, and to develop effective practices that contribute to student safety.

Bullying has two key components: repeated harmful acts and an imbalance of power. It involves repeated physical, verbal, or psychological attacks or intimidation directed against victims who cannot properly defend themselves because of size or strength or because they are outnumbered or less psychologically resilient.

“Bullying was once viewed by some as a relatively harmless behavior that was an expected part of adolescent interaction,” said COPS Director Bernard K. Melekian. “However, we now know that bullying can have a long-term affect on both the bully and the victim, it can lead to other forms of school-based violence, and the advent of cyber-bullying can further exacerbate consequences.”

Victims of bullying are more likely to exhibit health problems, have declining grades, contemplate suicide, skip school to avoid being bullied, and experience feelings of depression and low self-esteem that can persist for years after the incidents. Research conducted in three countries also has shown that bullies themselves are much more likely to develop a criminal record.

Bullying in Schools can be downloaded from the COPS Office Web site at http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/files/RIC/Publications/e07063414-guide.pdf or ordered at no cost by contacting the U.S. Department of Justice Response Center at 800-421-6770.