Violence in School March 18, 2004
Overview • Sexual Harassment • What is Bullying? • What can we do about Bullying? • Gangs • Violence in the Media • School Perpetuates Violence
SEXUAL HARASSMENT IN OUR SCHOOLS Violence in School
What is sexual harassment? Sexual harassment is … • a legal concept developed originally to address a particular type of sexual discrimination. • an unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that makes someone feel uncomfortable or unwelcome in the workplace by focusing attention on their gender instead of on their professional qualifications. • A concept that applies now to both women and men, to adults and to children.
Positions of Power… • “Sexual harassment is usually defined as behavior by someone higher in status or power toward someone lower in status or power, although harassment by peers or customers is also recognized as a problem. The unequal balance of power is an intrinsic element of the legal definition of sexual harassment.” From: Information on Sexual Harassment website http://www.de.psu.edu/harassment/
Sexual Harassment is Illegal • Under the Canada Human Rights Act, sexual harassment is a violation of law 14 (1) (2). • 14 (1) It is a discriminatory practice, • (a) in the provision of goods, services, facilities or accommodation customarily available to the general public,(b) in the provision of commercial premises or residential accommodation, or(c) in matters related to employment, to harass an individual on a prohibited ground of discrimination. • 2) Without limiting the generality of subsection (1), sexual harassment shall, for the purposes of that subsection, be deemed to be harassment on a prohibited ground of discrimination.
Harassment in our Schools: What is really going on? • The American Association of University Women (AAUW) conducted a landmark survey of 1,632 students in grades 8–11. • 85 percent of girls, and 76 percent of boys reported experiencing some kind of harassment. • The milder forms included looks, jokes, graffiti on bathroom walls, and comments about body parts. • The more severe forms were physically intrusive: being grabbed or brushed up against in a sexual way.
Thirty-one percent of girls experienced harassment "often," compared to only 18 percent of boys. • Thirteen percent of girls and nine percent of boys reported being "forced to do something sexual at school other than kissing" (AAUW, 1993, p. 10). • Pat Staton and June Larkin found similar results in their study of Ontario students as published in Sexual Harassment: The Intimidation Factor .
Forms of Sexual Harassment • Verbal • Physical • Visual
Verbal • Rating • Demeaning Comments • Insults • Invasive Questions • Whistling • Racial Comments
…Cont’d • Demands • Threats • Propositions • Persistent Invitations for Dates • Obscene/Harassing Phone Calls • Dubious/Suspicious • Compliments
Physical • Leering • Being Followed • Touching, Pinching, Grabbing • Sexual Gestures • Threatening Acts • Flashing • Fondling
Visual • Pornography • Demeaning Graffiti
Who is harassing our students? • Studies show that the majority of harassment is inflicted by a student on another student. • There are still reports of harassment inflicted by teachers and administrative staff. • HOWEVER, in general students felt unsupported by the staff.
Educational Effects • Avoided specifically “threatening” areas of the school (hallways) • Limited class participation • Skipped classes or withdrew from classes • Grades dropped • Changed their career choices • Transferred to a different school (often all-girls or all-boys schools)
Emotional Effects • Monitored clothing/changed their style to avoid being noticed • Fearful – knew that “a minor incident of harassment could escalate to a more extreme form of violence” • Drastically lowered self-confidence • Changed the was they felt in other social settings outside of the school • Self-conscious • Shamed • Embarrassed
Greater Effects on Girls • In the AAUW survey one in four girls said they stayed home from school or cut class because of sexual harassment (AAUW, 1993, p. 15).” Taken from http://www.cfchildren.org/article_walls1.shtml (Committee for Children)
What to do as educators… • Actions speak louder than words: do not model behaviour that tolerates or encourages the thinking that produces sexual harassment • Push for the creation of a policy against sexual harassment • Ask that the policy be visible within the school • Educate our students
What to tell our students… • Know your rights. • Speak up at the time. • Be sure to say "NO" clearly, firmly and without smiling. • Keep records. • Identify an advocate. • Write a letter. • Report sexual harassment to the appropriate person in the organization.
BullyingViolence in School bullying.org
What is Bullying? • Bullying is the assertion of power through aggression. • Bullies acquire power over their victims physically, emotionally and socially.
bullying…it is done in a variety of ways: • By physical size and strength; • by status within a peer group; • by knowing the victim's weaknesses or by recruiting support from other children.
Emotional and social bullying is considered to be the most frequent and harmful. • Bullying can be physical or verbal. • It can be direct (face-to-face) or indirect (gossip or exclusion) (Olweus, 1991). • With repeated bullying, the bully's dominance over the victim is established and the victim becomes increasingly distressed and fearful.
Kinds of Bullying • Peer Harassment; • Social Alienation; • Intimidation; and • Physical Aggression.
Social Alienation • negative comments or teasing; • gossiping and spreading rumours; • embarrassing and publicly humiliating; • setting a person up to look foolish; • setting a person up to take the blame for something;
Social Alienation… • exclusion; • threatening exclusion; • manipulating to achieve exclusion; • manipulation to gain compliance; • ethnic slurs, racism, homophobia and sexual harassment. Stop Bullying Me! What is Bullying: http://www.stopbullyingme.ab.ca
Physical Aggression • spitting on or at; • pushing and shoving; • kicking and hitting or slapping; • stealing, vandalizing or damaging property or possessions; • locking in or out of a space; • throwing objects at;
Physical Aggression… • physical acts that are humiliating such as “wedgies” or "Swirlees", urinating on, pouring liquids on; • physical violence against family, friends or pets • threatening with a weapon; • any other acts of bodily harm including sexual assaults and sexual touching. Stop Bullying Me! What is Bullying: http://www.stopbullyingme.ab.ca
Who are the Bullies? • Children bully in many different ways-there is not a single type of bully. • The following characteristics have been identified primarily through research on boys who bully.
Gender: Both boys and girls are involved in bullying at approximately the same rate, although each gender expresses bullying in different ways. • More boys report their bullying than girls; • boys report more physical forms of bullying; • while girls report indirect forms of bullying, such as gossiping and excluding (Craig and Pepler, 1997) • Age: Ages 4-10, aggression is mainly confined to same-sex peers, whereas ages 11-18 expand their aggression to involve opposite-sex peers as well (Pepler, et al.).
Temperament: Bullies tend to be hyperactive, disruptive, and impulsive (Lowenstein, 1978; Olweus, 1987). • Aggression: Bullies tend to be assertive and easily provoked. They are attracted to situations with aggressive content and have positive attitudes about aggression (Stephenson and Smith, 1989).
Physical Strength: Boys who bully are physically stronger and have a need to dominate others (Olweus, 1987). • Lack of Empathy: Bullies have little empathy for their victims and show little or no remorse for bullying (Olweus, 1987).
Who are the Victims? • Children become victimized for many different reasons - there is not a single victim type. For some children, the following characteristics are present before bullying occurs; for others, they develop as a result of bullying.
Gender: Boys and girls are equally likely to report being victimized (Charach et al., 1995; Pepler et al., 1997). • Age: Victimization decreases across grade levels • 26% of children in Grades 1-3 report victimization compared to 15% in Grades 4-6 and 12% in Grades 7-8 (Pepler et al.). • Younger students experience more direct bullying, whereas older students experience more indirect bullying (Olweus, 1993).
Temperament: Victimized children have a tendency to be anxious and withdrawn. • Physical Appearance: Research has not supported the popular stereotype that victims have unusual physical traits (Olweus, 1991).
Self-Esteem: Victims often report low self-esteem, likely because of repeated exposure to victimization (Besag, 1989). • Depression: Both boys and girls who are victimized report symptoms of depression (Slee, 1995; Craig, 1997). • Anxiety: Boys and girls who are victims report symptoms of anxiety (Neary and Joseph, 1994; Slee, 1995).
Bullying II What can be done?
The Goal • Reduce, if not eliminate bullying • Prevent bullying from ever happening • Creating a more peer-friendly environment
Where to address bullying? • Can be addressed at multiple levels in the educational scope • Government • School Boards • Individual Schools • Classrooms • Individual Students
Government • Safe School Act, Bill 81 • Revised in 2000, under Hon. Janet Ecker • “Help promote Respect, Responsibility, and Civility” • Included Code of Conduct • Sets out clear behaviour rules and clear consequences for students. • View it here
School Boards • Intermediaries • Tailor initiatives by Government to conform to board goals and values. • Creates anti-bullying policies & programs • These are downloaded to the schools. • Anti-bullying programs used by schools within the board.
Individual Schools • Establish a Bullying Prevention Coordinating Committee • Administer an Anonymous Questionnaire Survey • Hold a School Conference Day • Improve Supervision & Outdoor Environment • Involve Parents!
Classrooms • Establish Rules vs. bullying • Positive & Negative consequences • Listen Respectfully • Hold regular class meetings • Meet with parents • Develop curriculum
Students • Have a serious talk with the bully • Bullying is not acceptable • Refer to school & class code of conduct • Future behaviour will be closely monitored • Have a serious talk with the victim • Provide information about what will be done • Persuade to immediately report future occurrences
Students cont... • Document • Initiate removal from class/school • Follow up in communicating
Gangs Violence in School
Gangs • A gang is an ongoing loosely organized association of three or more persons, whether formal or informal, which has a common name, signs, symbols or colours, whose members engage, individually, or collectively, in violent or other forms of illegal behaviour • Gangs are weapon-carrying and violent as well as weapon-free and largely innocuous • Youth gangs come in a diversity of shapes and forms. • Some are highly structured, named, and multicultural. • Others are white, middle-class students who ‘swarm’ a victim for a jacket