Should bullying in schools be banned?

johncrossley

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Bullying in schools was rife when I went to school decades ago and still seems to be sadly prevalent today. Should it be banned?
 
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Bletchleyite

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Only if a crime is committed (for example, such as theft or assault) during the act of bullying.

Do you mean "should it be a criminal offence", then? No form of bullying is allowed by school rules.

I can see that some more serious instances such as serious or sexual assault should be reported to the Police, but they probably are anyway.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Only if a crime is committed (for example, such as theft or assault) during the act of bullying.
"Ban" doesn't just apply to criminal law. I'd be surprised if any school doesn't have an anti-bullying policy which includes sanctions for those students who break the policy. Back in my schooldays bullying was indeed widespread, but it wasn't done right under the noses of teachers because it was a breach of rules and a punishment would (in theory) follow.
 

johncrossley

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Do you mean "should it be a criminal offence", then? No form of bullying is allowed by school rules.

Maybe, that is what I'm debating. I'm not sure, basically. Obviously it is against school rules, but it practice enforcement is very limited. You would expect the bully to be suspended at the minimum. Making it a criminal offence may focus the mind.
 

Scotrail12

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I suppose it depends on the type and the extent of bullying. If it's physical, absolutely. If it's really relentless, definitely should be banned. But I think sometimes it's overblown - kids being idiots can be interpreted as bullying by some.

I was never badly bullied at school but I did have quite a few moments where people picked on me a bit and took the piss out of me because I was the awkward, chubby gay kid. But there was nothing physical, it was just immaturity on their part so for me, I wouldn't consider it bullying and it doesn't register in my memories.

On the other hand, I was forced by parents and to an extent, some teachers to be 'friends' with the token 'difficult' guy in my year. Now that did properly scar me for quite a few years after (to the extent where I was too scared to befriend anyone in uni). I would have considered some of his behaviour to be bullying and I wish someone had stepped in.

If anything - the type of bullying we should be worried about now is cyber bullying which is really quite ugly and takes bullying from the classroom/playground to daily life.
 
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duncanp

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Problem is that some schools cover up the bullying, whether is is physical or online.

Only yesterday I was reading of a 13 year old girl who came close to suicide because she was pressured into sharing an explicit photo of herself with a boy in her school, who then passed the picture on to other pupils, both boys and girls. This boy then demanded more and more explicit photos which were of course shared widely, and he then threatened to pass them on to the girl's family.

The school was informed by the girl's parents, but they didn't do anything beyond "having a word" with the boys concerned, and certainly didn't want to involve the police.

Even when the girl's parents pointed that sharing sexually explicit photos of minors is a criminal offence, and if I as a 59 year old was to do the same thing I would be charged, convicted and put on the sex offenders register.

I have heard anecodtally from friends in the teaching profession that covering up of serious misbehaviour at schools (eg. carrying knives) is widespread, and the primary (and in some cases only) concern of the school is to protect its own reputation.

In some senses the schools have their hands tied behinf their back by legislation. There is no longer any corporal punishment, and whilst I can understand that most people would not want this brought back, even non physical punishments such as detention or exclusion from school are discouraged.
 

Bald Rick

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Every school must have an anti bullying policy, which must be reviewed regularly.

at the schools I am involved in, bullying his taken VERY seriously.
 

Bletchleyite

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It is also worth pointing out that a malicious allegation of bullying can be made as an act of bullying in itself, or because of misinterpreting signals. For instance, nobody is entitled to have any other given individual be their friend, so deciding you don't want to spend time with someone any more for whatever reason isn't necessarily bullying, even if it might hurt very badly.

I've had a case of "non-bullying" in a Scout Group. All we could work out from a thorough investigation was that the kid involved didn't want to be there so had made it up so his parents would take him out. In the end, when I asked the parents to be very specific about what had been said/done they declined to do so and he left.

You similarly occasionally get malicious Safeguarding accusations against adults a given kid doesn't like, unfortunately.
 

duncanp

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You similarly occasionally get malicious Safeguarding accusations against adults a given kid doesn't like, unfortunately.

Children, especially older ones, are very well aware of this, as they know allegations have to be investigated (quite properly) and the individual against whom the allegation is made can be named, and sometimes suspended from duty. The accusers, meanwhile, can hide behind the cloak of anonymity, knowing that they "can't be named for legal reasons".

My friends in the teaching profession tell me that several teachers have committed suicide over false allegations made against them. The allegations were publicised, but the fact that those teachers were not even charged with any offences, let alone convicted, was not.
 

Scotrail12

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For instance, nobody is entitled to have any other given individual be their friend, so deciding you don't want to spend time with someone any more for whatever reason isn't necessarily bullying, even if it might hurt very badly.
This particular situation happened to me. Not fun. Every single classmate was on my side but he and my parents decided I was in the wrong and made my life a misery for it.
 

johncrossley

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Children, especially older ones, are very well aware of this, as they know allegations have to be investigated (quite properly) and the individual against whom the allegation is made can be named, and sometimes suspended from duty. The accusers, meanwhile, can hide behind the cloak of anonymity, knowing that they "can't be named for legal reasons".

My friends in the teaching profession tell me that several teachers have committed suicide over false allegations made against them. The allegations were publicised, but the fact that those teachers were not even charged with any offences, let alone convicted, was not.

Sounds like being a teacher is too risky.
 

Gostav

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Children, especially older ones, are very well aware of this, as they know allegations have to be investigated (quite properly) and the individual against whom the allegation is made can be named, and sometimes suspended from duty. The accusers, meanwhile, can hide behind the cloak of anonymity, knowing that they "can't be named for legal reasons".

My friends in the teaching profession tell me that several teachers have committed suicide over false allegations made against them. The allegations were publicised, but the fact that those teachers were not even charged with any offences, let alone convicted, was not.
This is a problem in many countries, resulting in an absolute shortage of teaching positions, some schools being forced to hire people whose background are unknown, which causes more problems. Public opinion has further put pressure on teachers, resulting in the loss of more teaching posts.
Politicians promise to tackle juvenile delinquency (Who cannot said: "think of the children?") - but there are not enough juvenile corrections institutions and human resources.
 

Gloster

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I went to a public school in the 1970s and bullying was common. The attitude of teachers varied: some, probably the majority (although it didn’t seem so at the time), made a reasonable effort to stop serious bullying. Others, particularly of the overgrown schoolboy type, tended to see it as all part of school life and did not bother except in the most blatant of cases. A handful effectively encouraged it. Minor bullying was seen as normal and there was an attitude by some that if a boy was being bullied, he was obviously doing something that caused others to bully him and so it was for him to solve the problem by stopping whatever it was that he was doing.

Minor bullying was the norm, but in a boarding school you are living with the bullies all the time so even that will grind you down. More serious violence, theft, vandalism, even sexual assault, etc. happened less frequently, and the school would almost always manage to cover it up. I know that I am not the only boy who has suffered permanent injuries.
 

najaB

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Maybe, that is what I'm debating. I'm not sure, basically. Obviously it is against school rules, but it practice enforcement is very limited. You would expect the bully to be suspended at the minimum. Making it a criminal offence may focus the mind.
What, exactly, would be covered by this new law that isn't covered by existing legislation?
 

eMeS

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I went to a public school in the 1970s and bullying was common. ...

Minor bullying was the norm, but in a boarding school you are living with the bullies all the time so even that will grind you down. More serious violence, theft, vandalism, even sexual assault, etc. happened less frequently, and the school would almost always manage to cover it up. I know that I am not the only boy who has suffered permanent injuries.
I did two years National Service in the RAF (1957-9), and in my first year shared a hut with ~20 others. In my second year, our living quarters were smaller with around 6 airmen per room. We were a mixed lot - in my first year, largely from the London area, and I was from Manchester, so I got ragged about my accent. At no time, was I aware of any bullying. We did get earfuls from the Drill Instructors certainly, but that I assume was to toughen us up in case we were taken prisoner. So, why do schools continue with this barbaric behaviour?
 

Bertie the bus

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Bullying in schools is clearly banned. Whether it should be stamped down on depends on the definition of bullying. My interpretation of real bullying is a sustained campaign against an individual or group of individuals. That is extremely unpleasant behaviour and should be tackled when the authorities encounter it.

However, these days bullying, like so many words, has largely lost its meaning and can be applied to really quite minor, one off incidents. That shouldn’t be stamped down on as shielding kids from everything just leaves them unprepared for the real world. People say kids can be cruel but so can adults and the sooner people learn to deal with a bit of unpleasantness the happier they will be.
 

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Many schools do have anti-bullying policies, but part of the problem is not just the lack of enforcement but also the fact young impressionable kids may be too naïve to actually recognise what is bullying. When we think of bullying we typically think of someone being beaten up or someone being physically coerced into doing something. But other examples such as being the butt of all the jokes might not necessarily be recognised as such, and often times bullies in this situation won't recognise it as bullying or try to gaslight the victim into thinking they're just too sensitive or emotional even if it's actually a perfectly rational response to how they're treated. The point here is that while something such as theft can be easily defined and therefore criminalised or banned, it's just not the case with something like bullying.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that, as social animals, large groups of people will end up naturally evolving some sort of pecking order, and kids in school won't have the same inhibitions as a mature adult will, and even among adults workplace bullying is a known phenomena. In my honest opinion though the best way to deal with bullying is to learn or be taught how to recognise it and to stand up for yourself when appropriate. I'm not saying don't tell the teachers but kids certainly shouldn't rely on them to do anything about it. Cyberbullying is a bit more difficult to deal with, but I do wonder how much of that can be avoided by limiting your contact to family and friends only as well as staying off social media (an act which by itself would already leave one's mental health better off in the long term). Forgive me for going on a bit of a long tangent here but I think I've made my point.
 

LSWR Cavalier

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I think more should be done against bullying. I was bullied at school and at work.

Bullies are generally cowards plus stupid. They do not try to oppress their victims one on one, but in front of others. Perhaps they should be offered help, or encouraged to take play sports.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think more should be done against bullying. I was bullied at school and at work.

Bullies are generally cowards plus stupid. They do not try to oppress their victims one on one, but in front of others. Perhaps they should be offered help, or encouraged to take play sports.

A lot of bullying occurs in the context of school sport, e.g. "towel whipping" and the stealing of items of clothing.
 

Bletchleyite

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I would be shocked if any school doesn't have one.

It obviously might vary to what extent they stick to it. It's a bit like risk assessments in some (non-railway) organisations - write it down, chuck it in a drawer, ignore it. Pull it back out and claim you followed it if an incident occurs.
 

gabrielhj07

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One point I think worth mentioning is the difference in bullying between single-sex/co-ed schools. Having attended both, I can confidently say that bullying of any description was much more prevalent in (in my case) all boys schools. General p***-taking was largely overlooked by teachers, even right under their noses, as character building and thus not important enough to warrant action.

By contrast, when I was in a co-ed school, the leadership took a very hard line 'zero-tolerance' approach to bullying of any kind, being very liberal in dishing out punishments anywhere from detention to expulsion.

Interestingly, I, along with many of the people I was at school with are of the opinion that the 'character building' type 'bullying' did us a bit of good, toughened our skin so to speak, although not applicable for everyone, hence the preference towards a stricter policy in most schools.
 

Sorcerer

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Bullies are generally cowards plus stupid. They do not try to oppress their victims one on one, but in front of others. Perhaps they should be offered help, or encouraged to take play sports.
I know it's common to claim bullies are often in need of help or doing it to make them feel better about themselves, but I genuinely don't think most of them are actually in need of help. I think a fair amount of them are just generally bad people or just doing it because they can.

A lot of bullying occurs in the context of school sport, e.g. "towel whipping" and the stealing of items of clothing.
I think this is kind of where the line is blurred, because to be honest, if I had a towel I would definitely whip a friend just to wind them up. Sometimes it could literally just be something as much as a couple of young guys messing around as long as boundaries are respected. I think that last part might be a key difference though in determining when it becomes bullying.

One point I think worth mentioning is the difference in bullying between single-sex/co-ed schools. Having attended both, I can confidently say that bullying of any description was much more prevalent in (in my case) all boys schools. General p***-taking was largely overlooked by teachers, even right under their noses, as character building and thus not important enough to warrant action.

By contrast, when I was in a co-ed school, the leadership took a very hard line 'zero-tolerance' approach to bullying of any kind, being very liberal in dishing out punishments anywhere from detention to expulsion.
I actually find this interesting because I would initially think that bullying between boys would be higher than between girls but I also wonder how the presence of girls might affect the type of bullying between boys.
 

Bletchleyite

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I think this is kind of where the line is blurred, because to be honest, if I had a towel I would definitely whip a friend just to wind them up. Sometimes it could literally just be something as much as a couple of young guys messing around as long as boundaries are respected. I think that last part might be a key difference though in determining when it becomes bullying.

I'm sorry, but "doing something to wind someone up" IS bullying, unless it's entirely reciprocal.

Teachers should certainly not be permitting that kind of behaviour in school changing rooms whether it's "for a laugh" or not.
 

yorkie

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Problem is that some schools cover up the bullying, whether is is physical or online.

Only yesterday I was reading of a 13 year old girl who came close to suicide because she was pressured into sharing an explicit photo of herself with a boy in her school, who then passed the picture on to other pupils, both boys and girls. This boy then demanded more and more explicit photos which were of course shared widely, and he then threatened to pass them on to the girl's family.

The school was informed by the girl's parents, but they didn't do anything beyond "having a word" with the boys concerned, and certainly didn't want to involve the police.
I find this incredibly hard to believe. What school was this and are you sure this is true? If you can amend your post to include a link and quote (as per forum rules) that would be much appreciated, thanks.
I have heard anecodtally from friends in the teaching profession that covering up of serious misbehaviour at schools (eg. carrying knives) is widespread, and the primary (and in some cases only) concern of the school is to protect its own reputation.
I've not heard anything like that.
In some senses the schools have their hands tied behinf their back by legislation. There is no longer any corporal punishment, and whilst I can understand that most people would not want this brought back, even non physical punishments such as detention or exclusion from school are discouraged.
Is this discouraged for carrying knives? If so, by who?

I'm sorry, but "doing something to wind someone up" IS bullying, unless it's entirely reciprocal.

Teachers should certainly not be permitting that kind of behaviour in school changing rooms whether it's "for a laugh" or not.
Such behaviour is clearly not going to be "permitted" but if two friends are messing about and one whips the other in a manner that doesn't cause harm, and is just "messing about", you can't expect the punishment to be severe just for that; at the most that would be a detention, surely.

If it was a repeated action or it was not between friends or the victim was hurt then of course it would be treated more seriously by any decent school.
 

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