Bullying

Bullying

An example of bullying.

Bullying is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite is the perception, by the bully or by others, of an imbalance of social or physical power, which distinguishes bullying from conflict.[1] Behaviors used to assert such domination can include verbal harassment or threat, physical assault or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particular targets. Rationalizations for such behavior sometimes include differences of social class, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, appearance, behavior, body language, personality, reputation, lineage, strength, size or ability.[2][3] If bullying is done by a group, it is called mobbing.[4]

Bullying can be defined in many different ways. The UK has no legal definition of bullying,[5] while some U.S. states have laws against it.[6] Bullying is divided into four basic types of abuse – emotional (sometimes called relational), verbal, physical, and cyber.[7] It typically involves subtle methods of coercion, such as intimidation.

Bullying ranges from simple one-on-one bullying to more complex bullying in which the bully may have one or more "lieutenants" who may seem to be willing to assist the primary bully in his or her bullying activities. Bullying in school and the workplace is also referred to as peer abuse.[8] Robert W. Fuller has analyzed bullying in the context of rankism.

A bullying culture can develop in any context in which humans interact with each other. This includes school, family, the workplace, home, and neighborhoods. In a 2012 study of male adolescent American football players, "the strongest predictor [of bullying] was the perception of whether the most influential male in a player's life would approve of the bullying behavior".[9]

Contents

  • Definitions 1
  • Etymology 2
  • Characteristics 3
    • Of bullies and accomplices 3.1
    • Of typical bystanders 3.2
    • Of victims 3.3
  • Effects 4
    • Suicide 4.1
    • Violence 4.2
    • Positive development 4.3
  • Dark triad 5
  • Projection 6
  • Emotional intelligence 7
  • In different contexts 8
    • Cyberbullying 8.1
    • Disability bullying 8.2
    • Gay bullying 8.3
    • Legal bullying 8.4
    • Military bullying 8.5
    • Parental bullying of children 8.6
    • Prison bullying 8.7
    • School bullying (bullying of students in schools) 8.8
    • Sexual bullying 8.9
    • Trans bullying 8.10
    • Workplace bullying 8.11
      • In academia 8.11.1
      • In blue collar jobs 8.11.2
      • In information technology 8.11.3
      • In the legal profession 8.11.4
      • In medicine 8.11.5
      • In nursing 8.11.6
      • In teaching 8.11.7
    • In other areas 8.12
  • Prevention 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13

Definitions

Bullying may be defined as the activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another individual, physically, mentally or emotionally. Bullying is characterized by an individual behaving in a certain way to gain power over another person.[10] It can be classified into four types:[11]

  1. Physical (hitting, punching, or kicking)
  2. Verbal (name-calling or taunting)
  3. Relational (destroying peer acceptance and friendships)
  4. Cyber-bullying (using electronic means to harm others)

Physical, verbal, and relational bullying are most prevalent in primary school and could also begin much earlier. Cyber-bullying is more common in secondary school than in primary school.[11]

Norwegian researcher Dan Olweus[12] says bullying occurs when a person is "exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons". He says negative actions occur "when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways."[12]

Etymology

The word "bully" was first used in the 1530s meaning "sweetheart", applied to either sex, from the Dutch boel "lover, brother", probably diminutive of Middle High German buole "brother", of uncertain origin (compare with the German buhle "lover"). The meaning deteriorated through the 17th century through "fine fellow", "blusterer", to "harasser of the weak". This may have been as a connecting sense between "lover" and "ruffian" as in "protector of a prostitute", which was one sense of "bully" (though not specifically attested until 1706). The verb "to bully" is first attested in 1710.[13]

Characteristics

Of bullies and accomplices

Studies have shown that envy and resentment may be motives for bullying.[14] Research on the self-esteem of bullies has produced equivocal results.[15][16] While some bullies are arrogant and narcissistic,[17] they can also use bullying as a tool to conceal shame or anxiety or to boost self-esteem: by demeaning others, the abuser feels empowered.[18] Bullies may bully out of jealousy or because they themselves are bullied.[19] Psychologist Roy Baumeister asserts that people who are prone to abusive behavior tend to have inflated but fragile egos. Because they think too highly of themselves, are frequently offended by the criticisms and lack of deference of other people, and react to this disrespect with violence and insults.[20]

Researchers have identified other risk factors such as depression[21] and personality disorders,[22] as well as quickness to anger and use of force, addiction to aggressive behaviors, mistaking others' actions as hostile, concern with preserving self-image, and engaging in obsessive or rigid actions.[23] A combination of these factors may also be causes of this behavior.[24] In one study of youth, a combination of antisocial traits and depression was found to be the best predictor of youth violence, whereas video game violence and television violence exposure were not predictive of these behaviors.[25]

Bullying may also result from a genetic predisposition or a brain abnormality in the bully.[26] While parents can help a toddler develop emotional regulation and control to restrict aggressive behavior, some children fail to develop these skills due to insecure attachment with their families, ineffective discipline, and environmental factors such as a stressful home life and hostile siblings.[11] Moreover, according to some researchers, bullies may be inclined toward negativity and perform poorly academically. Dr. Cook says that "a typical bully has trouble resolving problems with others and also has trouble academically. He or she usually has negative attitudes and beliefs about others, feels negatively toward himself/herself, comes from a family environment characterized by conflict and poor parenting, perceives school as negative and is negatively influenced by peers".[27]

Contrarily, some researchers have suggested that some bullies are psychologically strongest and have high social standing among their peers, while their targets are emotionally distressed and socially marginalized.[28] Peer groups often promote the bully's actions, and members of these peer groups also engage in behaviors, such as mocking, excluding, punching, and insulting one another as a source of entertainment.[11] Other researchers also argued that a minority of the bullies, those who are not in-turn bullied, enjoy going to school, and are least likely to take days off sick.[29]

Research indicates that adults who bully have authoritarian personalities, combined with a strong need to control or dominate.[30] It has also been suggested that a prejudicial view of subordinates can be a particularly strong risk factor.[31]

Of typical bystanders

Often, bullying takes place in the presence of a large group of relatively uninvolved bystanders. In many cases, it is the bully's ability to create the illusion that he or she has the support of the majority present that instills the fear of "speaking out" in protestation of the bullying activities being observed by the group. Unless the "bully mentality" is effectively challenged in any given group in its early stages, it often becomes an accepted, or supported, norm within the group.[32][33]

Unless action is taken, a "culture of bullying" is often perpetuated within a group for months, years, or longer.[34]

Bystanders who have been able to establish their own "friendship group" or "support group" have been found to be far more likely to opt to speak out against bullying behavior than those who have not.[35][36]

In addition to communication of clear expectations that bystanders should intervene and increasing individual self-efficacy, there is growing research that suggests interventions should build on the foundation that bullying is morally wrong.[37]

Among adults, being a bystander to workplace bullying was linked to depression, particularly in women.[38]

Children who bully typically show signs of an aggressive behavior, a need to dominate others, and have a positive attitude towards violence.

Of victims

Dr. Cook says that "A typical victim is likely to be aggressive, lack social skills, think negative thoughts, experience difficulties in solving social problems, come from a negative family, school and community environments and be noticeably rejected and isolated by peers".[27] Victims often have characteristics such as being physically weak, as well as being easily distraught emotionally. They may also have physical characteristics that make them easier targets for bullies such as being overweight or having some type of physical deformity. Boys are more likely to be victims of physical bullying while girls are more likely to be bullied indirectly.[39]

The results of a meta-analysis conducted by Cook and published by the American Psychological Association in 2010 concluded the main risk factors for children and adolescents being bullied, and also for becoming bullies, are the lack of social problem-solving skills.[27]

Children who are bullied often show physical or emotional signs, such as: being afraid to attend school, complaining of headaches or a loss of appetite, a lack of interest in school activities and spending time with friends or family, and having an overall sense of sadness.

Effects

Mona O'Moore of the Anti-Bullying Centre at Trinity College in Dublin, has written, "There is a growing body of research which indicates that individuals, whether child or adult, who are persistently subjected to abusive behavior are at risk of stress related illness which can sometimes lead to suicide".[40] Those who have been the targets of bullying can suffer from long term emotional and behavioral problems. Bullying can cause [41] Bullying has also been shown to cause maladjustment in young children, and targets of bullying who were also bullies themselves exhibit even greater social difficulties.[42]

Suicide

Even though there is evidence that bullying increases the risk of suicide, bullying alone does not cause suicide. Depression is one of the main reasons why kids who are bullied commit suicide.[43] It is estimated that between 15 and 25 children commit suicide every year in the UK alone because they are being bullied.[44] Certain attributes of a person are correlated to a higher risk for suicide than others such as: American Indian, Alaskan Native, Asian American, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. When someone is unsupported by his or her family or friends, it can make the situation much worse for the victim.[45]

While some people find it very easy to ignore a bully, others may find it very difficult and reach a breaking point. There have been cases of apparent bullying suicides that have been reported closely by the media. These include the deaths of Ryan Halligen, Phoebe Prince, Dawn-Marie Wesley, Kelly Yeomans, Jessica Haffer,[46] Hamed Nastoh,[47] April Himes,[48] Cherice Moralez[49] and Rebecca Ann Sedwick.[50]

Violence

Bullied students Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold carried out the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. Since then, bullying has been more closely linked to high school violence in general.[51]

Serial killers were frequently bullied through direct and indirect methods as children or adolescents. Henry Lee Lucas, a serial killer and diagnosed psychopath, said the ridicule and rejection he suffered as a child caused him to hate everyone. Kenneth Bianchi, a serial killer and member of the Hillside Stranglers, was teased as a child because he urinated in his pants and suffered twitching, and as a teenager was ignored by his peers.[52]

Positive development

Some have argued that bullying can teach life lessons and instill strength. Helene Guldberg, a child development academic, sparked controversy when she argued that being a target of bullying can teach a child "how to manage disputes and boost their ability to interact with others", and that teachers should not intervene, but leave children to respond to the bullying themselves.[53]

A few studies have pointed up some potentially positive outcomes from bullying behavior.[54] These studies have found that with some individuals, as a result of their having been targeted with bullying behavior, this certain minority of former bullying "targets" have actually experienced being "enabled" through their experiences with bullying to develop various coping strategies, which included "standing up for themselves" in ways which acted to "re-balance" former imbalances of power. Such former bullying targets have reported such things as "becoming a better person" as a result of their former bullying ordeals.[54] The teaching of such anti-bullying coping skills to "would-be-targets" and to others has been found to be an effective long term means of reducing bullying incidence rates and a valuable skill-set for individuals.[55]

Dark triad

Research on the dark triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism and psychopathy) indicate a correlation with bullying as part of evidence of the aversive nature of those traits.[56]

Projection

A bully may project his/her own feelings of vulnerability onto the target(s) of the bullying activity. Despite the fact that a bully's typically denigrating activities are aimed at the bully's targets, the true source of such negativity is ultimately almost always found in the bully's own sense of personal insecurity and/or vulnerability.[57] Such aggressive projections of displaced negative emotions can occur anywhere from the micro-level of interpersonal relationships, all the way up through to the macro-level of international politics, or even international armed conflict.[58]

Emotional intelligence

Bullying is abusive social interaction between peers which can include aggression, harassment, and violence. Bullying is typically repetitive and enacted by those who are in a position of power over the victim. A growing body of research illustrates a significant relationship between bullying and emotional intelligence (EI). Mayer et al., (2008) defines the dimensions of overall EI as: "accurately perceiving emotion, using emotions to facilitate thought, understanding emotion, and managing emotion".[59] The concept combines emotional and intellectual processes.[60] Lower emotional intelligence appears to be related to involvement in bullying, as the bully and/or the victim of bullying. EI seems to play an important role in both bullying behavior and victimization in bullying; given that EI is illustrated to be malleable, EI education could greatly improve bullying prevention and intervention initiatives.[61]

In different contexts

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is any bullying done through the use of technology. This form of bullying can easily go undetected because of lack of parental/authoritative supervision. Because bullies can pose as someone else, it is the most anonymous form of bullying. Cyberbullying includes, but is not limited to, abuse using email, instant messaging, text messaging, websites, social networking sites, etc.[62] With the creation of social networks like Facebook, Myspace, Instagram, and Twitter, cyberbullying has increased. Particular watchdog organizations have been designed to contain the spread of cyberbullying.

Disability bullying

It has been noted that disabled people are disproportionately affected by bullying and abuse, and such activity has been cited as a hate crime.[63] The bullying is not limited to those who are visibly disabled, such as wheelchair-users or physically deformed such as those with a cleft lip, but also those with learning disabilities, such as autism[64][65] and developmental coordination disorder.[66][67]

There is an additional problem that those with learning disabilities are often not as able to explain things to other people, so are more likely to be disbelieved or ignored if they do complain.

Gay bullying

Gay bullying and gay bashing designate direct or indirect verbal or physical actions by a person or group against someone who is gay or lesbian, or perceived to be so due to rumors or because they are considered to fit gay stereotypes. Gay and lesbian youth are more likely than straight youth to report bullying.[68]

Legal bullying

Legal bullying is the bringing of a vexatious legal action to control and punish a person. Legal bullying can often take the form of frivolous, repetitive, or burdensome lawsuits brought to intimidate the defendant into submitting to the litigant's request, not because of the legal merit of the litigant's position, but principally due to the defendant's inability to maintain the legal battle. This can also take the form of SLAPPs. It was partially concern about the potential for this kind of abuse that helped to fuel the protests against SOPA and PIPA in the United States in 2011 and 2012.

Military bullying

In 2000, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) defined bullying as "the use of physical strength or the abuse of authority to intimidate or victimize others, or to give unlawful punishments".[69]

Some argue that this behaviour should be allowed, due to ways in which "soldiering" is different from other occupations. Soldiers expected to risk their lives should, according to them, develop strength of body and spirit to accept bullying.[70]

Parental bullying of children

Parents who may displace their anger, insecurity, or a persistent need to dominate and control upon their children in excessive ways have been proven to increase the likelihood that their own children will in turn become overly aggressive or controlling towards their peers.[71] The American Psychological Association advises on its website that parents who may suspect that their own children may be engaging in bullying activities among their peers should carefully consider the examples which they themselves may be setting for their own children regarding how they typically interact with their own peers, colleagues, and children.[72]

Prison bullying

An environment known for bullying is a country's prison service. An additional complication is the staff and their relationships with the inmates. Thus the following possible bullying scenarios are possible:

  • Inmate bullies inmate (echoing school bullying)
  • Staff bullies inmate
  • Staff bullies staff (a manifestation of workplace bullying)
  • Inmate bullies staff

School bullying (bullying of students in schools)

Bullying can occur in nearly any part in or around the school building. Though it may occur more frequently during physical education classes and activities such as recess. Bullying also takes place in school hallways, bathrooms, on school buses and while waiting for buses, and in classes that require group work and/or after school activities. Bullying in school sometimes consists of a group of students taking advantage of or isolating one student in particular and gaining the loyalty of bystanders who want to avoid becoming the next target. In the 2011 documentary Bully, we see first hand the torture that kids go through both in school and while on the school bus. As the movie follows around a few kids we see how bullying affects them both at school as well as in their homes. While bullying has no age limit, these bullies may taunt and tease their target before finally physically bullying them. Bystanders typically choose to either participate or watch, sometimes out of fear of becoming the next target.

Bullying can also be perpetrated by teachers and the school system itself; there is an inherent power differential in the system that can easily predispose to subtle or covert abuse (relational aggression or passive aggression), humiliation, or exclusion — even while maintaining overt commitments to anti-bullying policies.[73][74][75]

Sexual bullying

Sexual bullying is "any bullying behaviour, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person's sexuality or gender. It is when sexuality or gender is used as a weapon by males or females towards others - although it is more commonly directed at females. It can be carried out to a person's face, behind their back or through the use of technology."[76]

Trans bullying

Trans bashing is the act of victimizing a person physically, sexually, or verbally because they are transgender or transsexual.[77] Unlike gay bashing, it is committed because of the target's actual or perceived gender identity, not sexual orientation.

Workplace bullying

Workplace bullying occurs when an employee experiences a persistent pattern of mistreatment from others in the workplace that causes harm.[78] Workplace bullying can include such tactics as organizational culture.

In academia

Bullying in academia is workplace bullying of scholars and staff in academia, especially places of higher education such as colleges and universities. It is believed to be common, although has not received as much attention from researchers as bullying in some other contexts.[81]

In blue collar jobs

Bullying has been identified as prominent in blue collar jobs, including on oil rigs and in mechanic shops and machine shops. It is thought that intimidation and fear of retribution cause decreased incident reports. In industry sectors dominated by males, typically of little education, where disclosure of incidents are seen as effeminate, reporting in the socioeconomic and cultural milieu of such industries would likely lead to a vicious circle. This is often used in combination with manipulation and coercion of facts to gain favour among higher-ranking administrators.[82]

In information technology

A culture of bullying is common in information technology (IT), leading to high sickness rates, low morale, poor productivity, and high staff-turnover.[83] Deadline-driven project work and stressed-out managers take their toll on IT workers.[84]

In the legal profession

Bullying in the legal profession is believed to be more common than in some other professions. It is believed that its adversarial, hierarchical tradition contributes towards this.[85] Women, trainees and solicitors who have been qualified for five years or less are more impacted, as are ethnic minority lawyers and lesbian, gay and bisexual lawyers.[86]

In medicine

Bullying in the medical profession is common, particularly of student or trainee doctors and of nurses. It is thought that this is at least in part an outcome of conservative traditional hierarchical structures and teaching methods in the medical profession, which may result in a bullying cycle.

In nursing

Even though The American Nurses Association believes that all nursing personnel have the right to work in safe, non-abusive environments, bullying has been identified as being particularly prevalent in the nursing profession although the reasons are not clear. It is thought that relational aggression (psychological aspects of bullying such as gossipping and intimidation) are relevant. Relational aggression has been studied among girls but not so much among adult women.[84][87]

In teaching

School teachers are commonly the subject of bullying but they are also sometimes the originators of bullying within a school environment.

In other areas

As the verb to bully is defined as simply "forcing one's way aggressively or by intimidation", the term may generally apply to any life experience where one is motivated primarily by intimidation instead of by more positive goals, such as mutually shared interests and benefits. As such, any figure of authority or power who may use intimidation as a primary means of motivating others, such as a neighborhood "protection racket don", a national dictator, a childhood ring-leader, a terrorist, a terrorist organization, or even a ruthless business CEO, could rightfully be referred to as a bully. According to psychologist Pauline Rennie-Peyton, we each face the possibility of being bullied in any phase of our lives.[88]

The author Ben Shapiro claims that liberals employ bullying to intimidate and silence their conservative opponents in an ongoing culture war.[89]

Prevention

Banner in a campaign against bullying in Cefet-MG.

Bullying prevention is the collective effort to prevent, reduce, and stop bullying. Many campaigns and events are designated to bullying prevention throughout the world. Bullying prevention campaign and events include: Anti-Bullying Day, Anti-Bullying Week, International Day of Pink, International STAND UP to Bullying Day, and National Bullying Prevention Month. Anti-Bullying laws have also been enacted in 23 of the 50 states, making bullying in schools illegal [90]

See also

References

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  54. ^ a b Study describing how "learning to fight back" can help students to mature.
  55. ^ Positive Anti-Bullying Strategies by Melissa Graham
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  57. ^ Paul Gilbert, Overcoming Depression (1999) p. 185–6
  58. ^ Carl G. Jung ed., Man and his Symbols (London 1978) p. 181–2
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  60. ^ Tolegenova, A.A., Jakupov, S.M., Man Cheung Chung, Saduova, S. & Jakupov, M.S (2012) A theoretical formation of emotional intelligence and childhood trauma among adolescents. "Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences", 69, 1891-1894. International Conference on Education and Educational Psychology (ICEEPSY 2012). doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2012.12.142
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  77. ^ Guilty plea over transsexual bashing By Mariza O'Keefe in Herald Sun
  78. ^ Rayner, C. & Keashley, L. (2005). Bullying at work: A perspective from Britain and North America. In S. Fox & P. E. Spector (eds.) Counterproductive work behavior: Investigations of actors and targets (pp. 271-296). Washington DC: American Psychological Association.
  79. ^ Rayner, C., & Cooper, C. L. (2006). Workplace Bullying. In Kelloway, E., Barling, J. & Hurrell Jr., J. (eds.), Handbook of workplace violence (pp. 47-90). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  80. ^ Ramsay, S., Troth, A & Branch, S . (2010). Work-place bullying: A group processes framework Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology, 84(4), 799-816.
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  85. ^ University of New South Wales Law Journal, The Volume 37 Issue 3 (Dec 2014)A propitious moment?: Workplace bullying and regulation of the legal professionLe Mire, Suzanne; Owens, Rosemary
  86. ^ Society publishes guidance on tackling bullying in solicitor profession The Journal Of The Law Society of Scotland 27 June 2011
  87. ^ http://www.nursingworld.org/Bullying-Workplace-Violence Workplace Violence Statistics
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  89. ^ Ben Shapiro, Bullies: How the Left's Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America (ISBN 1476710015). Threshold Editions: 2013
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Further reading

  • Kohut MR The Complete Guide to Understanding, Controlling, and Stopping Bullies & Bullying: A Complete Guide for Teachers & Parents (2007)
  • Bullies and Victims in Schools: a guide to understanding and management by Valerie E. Besag (1989)
  • The Fight That Never Ends by Tim Brown
  • Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls" by Rachel Simmons ISBN 0-15-602734-8
  • Bullycide, Death at Playtime by Neil Marr and Tim Field ISBN 0-9529121-2-0
  • Bullycide in America: Moms Speak Out about the Bullying/Suicide Connection – by Brenda High, Bullycide.org
  • A Journey Out of Bullying: From Despair to Hope by Patricia L. Scott
  • "Peer Abuse Know More! Bullying From A Psychological Perspective" By Elizabeth Bennett
  • New Perspectives on Bullying by Ken Rigby
  • Garbarino, J. & de Lara, E. (2003). Hurt Forever: How to Protect Adolescents from Bullying, Harassment, and Emotional Violence. Can And Words The Free Press: New York NY.
  • Joanne Scaglione, Arrica Rose Scaglione 2006Bully-proofing children: a practical, hands-on guide to stop bullying
  • Why Is Everybody Always Picking on Me: A Guide to Handling Bullies for Young People. by Terrence Webster-Doyle. Book and Teaching curriculum.
  • "Why Nerds are Unpopular", by Paul Graham. This essay is an example of how even medium differences, in a hierarchical, zero-sum, or negative environments, can lead to ostracism or persecution.
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding (1954). A famous work describing how a group of schoolboys trapped on an island descends into savagery.

External links

  • Bullying. No Way! (Australian Education Authorities)
  • Bullying in schools (UK – schools)
  • PBSKids.org "Great Books About Bullies"
  • Be Brave Against Bullying, a UFT project
  • U.S. Department of Education's Education Resources Information Center (ERIC)