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The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention released Bullying in Schools: An Overview, the first of five bulletins examining bullying in schools and support schools can provide bullying victims. Bullying is a complex social and emotional problem impacting children and schools. In extreme cases, victims face shooting, physical assaults, or other harassment that may cause them to turn to suicide.
“Parents and schools across the country worry about the devastating harm bullying can cause, and we share this concern for our nation’s children,” said Jeff Slowikowski, OJJDP’s Acting Administrator. “This new study highlights the impact of bullying and recommends effective anti-bullying strategies that schools can implement to keep students safe.”
Conducted by the National Center for School Engagement in 2007, the OJJDP-funded study focused on the connection between bullying, truancy, and low academic achievement and examined whether engaging students in academics or extracurricular activities mediates these factors.
Bullying does not directly cause truancy, researchers found. A caring school community where students are challenged academically and adults support them can serve as a powerful antidote. Victimization often distances students from learning and contributes to a myriad of other problems, including truancy and academic failure.
The researchers found “bullying in a box” curriculums—generic, pre-fabricated, anti-bullying curriculums—to be an ineffective substitute for intentional, student-focused engagement strategies.
The researchers further recommended these strategies for schools:
OJJDP’s bullying series examines the relationship among bullying, school attendance, school engagement, and school achievement; presents survey findings of young adults bullied in grade school; provides teachers’ observations on efforts to ameliorate school bullying; and compares findings to existing research on bullying.