In the past 15 years there have been some major events—from the Columbine massacre to the disproportionately high rate of suicides among bullied LGBT students – that have forced educators and society to take bullying very seriously. A new study released today from Duke University Medical school could help hasten the acceptance of anti-bullying policies.
Duke University released today a long term psychological study titled ‘Adult Psychiatric Outcomes of Bullying and Being Bullied by Peers in Childhood and Adolescence’ . Tracking subjects since the early 1990s they have discovered that bullying has significant long term psychological outcomes for the bullies and the bullied. As one researcher noted:
“The experience of bullying in childhood can have profound effects on mental health in adulthood, particularly among youths involved in bullying as both a perpetuator and a victim.”
As someone who was a bully in primary school, and was bullied throughout my High School career, I became a proponent of stopping both school and workplace bullying after the Columbine massacre. When I decided to leave the private sector and go back to University to become a teacher, I promised myself that I would always do the utmost to provide ALL of my students with a safe, trusting, learning environment. I came into the Faculty of Education with the desire to get my students to understand that you don’t have to be friends with everyone, but you do have to be friendly with one another. To me that meant that students had to be respectful of each other and their differences. This was to be reinforced by creating a communal understanding that there would be NO acceptable put downs. Implementing this environment became much easier once I began using TRIBES learning community techniques.*
*During my practicum placements I was limited to the extent which I could implement TRIBES learning communities. When it isn’t your classroom and you are leaving in 4 weeks and the associate-teacher isn’t familiar with TRIBES you can only do so much. I do look forward to having my own classroom be better able to implement the TRIBES model.