Bullying is not something that can just be addressed inside one teachers classroom, it requires a comprehensive community effort to effectively stop bullying and the tolerance of bullying. Research shows only 4% of teachers intervene in a situation where a student is being bullied yet 50-75% of students with special needs are the main targets of bullying. These percentages do not add up. With more adult involvement and awareness of what to look for with students educators possess the power to not only stop occurring bullying incidents, but to reduce the number of new occurrences in the school’s community. The factors that are a result of victimization are the same ones that cause students to be targeted and bullied it is a vicious cycle. When educators are not afraid to intervene in a situation involving bullying the student’s self-esteem rises as well as their willingness to learn.
Bullies. At some point or another everyone has either been one or known one, but what happens when we as educators suspect it is happening in our classroom, and what if it is happening to a student with special needs? Bullying is defined an overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people. It is no surprise that bullying is still a huge factor in schools today. (Nansel, Oveepeck, Pillia, and Ruan 2001; Olweus 1999). Currently there is a strong value placed on the standardized test scores of students but the social developmental aspect is being over-looked. (Fleming et al. 2005). Over the past decade violence has dropped but it is still something that plagues classrooms all over the world because educators lack the training required to deal with anti social behaviors. (Brener, Lowery, Barrios, Sion, & Eaton, 2005: Dinkes, Catladi, Kena, & Baum, 2006). Bullying affects not only the safety of the children but also the quality of education they experience. (Batsche and Knoff 1994). There seems to be a more profound effect on students with special needs often resulting in repeat victimization, poor psychosocial adaptation, and peer-rejection. (Kaukianinen et al. 2002). This sort of bullying can cause lifelong consequences for those who experience it. (Sullivan, Cleary, & Sullivan, 2004). Students with disabilities are more likely to experience bullying than those students who do not have disabilities, and once we as educators learn how to identify bullies and victims we possess the power as a community to stop it.
Bullying is something that has been seen in a variety of different forms and nobody is immune to being bullied, however research shows that students with disabilities are more than twice as likely to be victimized than students with no disability.
The National Center for Educational Statistics reported that 28% of American adolescence without disabilities were victimized 6 months prior to the date the survey was conducted. (Dinkes et al. 2006). However 50-75% of students with disabilities...