by William Van Ornum, Ph.D. on
Today on the news, television reporters spoke of a new law that will mandate school officials to intervene and report instances in bullying. The bill was proposed after one student committed suicide following bullying.
One of the more-fascinating aspects of the increased awareness or incidence of bullying, and what appears to be ineffective adult intervention, is the high level of adult supervision that children and adolescents receive throughout the day. When I went to school, we walked, not the twelve miles of Abraham Lincoln but many times one-to-two miles within the city. This would be the one time that the bullies struck. Time after school was often unsupervised: no karate classes, dance lessons, SAT tutoring. Again, there were bullies during these unsupervised hours.
So why has this problem apparently reached epidemic proportions when children and teens are more-closely, even rigidly, supervised? One immediate reaction is to blame persons working in schools; there certainly have been enough high-profile cases to suggest important interventions are needed to embolden adults to stand up to bullies.
Some of the bullying-prevention programs focus on making adults more aware of bullying that goes on around them.
This is our continuation of a look at a very complex and sometimes tragic phenomenon.