Classroom Bullying on the Rise

A new survey paints an ugly picture of bullying on American middle school campuses. According to a survey of 10,000 middle school students by the American Public Health Association, 43 percent reported being bullied within the past month – with nearly two thirds of those students being bullied more than once during the month.

More than half of the students were teased or called hurtful names. One in four said they have skipped recess or stayed away from the bathrooms or lunchroom, while eight percent even skipped school to avoid bullies.

Is there anything school administrators can do to stop bullying? We asked Patrick Fiel, public safety advisor for ADT Security, for his opinion. For six years, he served as head of security for Washington, D.C. Public Schools.

According to Fiel, schools need to address the issue and add additional training for all teachers and staff. Also add resources as needed. Parents need to understand that bullying is a severe problem and should talk with children about its effects.

He also recommends starting with a risk assessment to review the campus’s security strengths and weaknesses. Then he has a few specific ideas moving forward.

“We need cameras installed throughout the school, especially in the hallways, near restrooms, inside the lunchroom and on the playground,” he said. “These are the areas where many bullying events take place. By having recorded evidence of bullying, administrators can take action – detentions and suspensions -- and involve parents to find a solution.”

Fiel also recommends a hotline or other means that allow students, parents and teachers to anonymously report incidents of bullying.

“There is no reason we should continue to have kids afraid to go to school and participate fully in events, he said. “It takes planning and the will to act, but bullying can be brought under control.”

-- PSW Staff

Image of Patrick Fiel