Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

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February 15, 2014

Bullying takes many forms

(Continued)

Sexual and prejudicial bullying are the final two most common types of bullying. Sexual bullying involves repeated harmful and humiliating actions that target a person sexually. Sexual name-calling, crude comments, vulgar gestures, uninvited touching, sexual propositioning and pornographic materials can all be involved in sexual bullying. This is not to be confused with bullying based on one’s sexual orientation, which falls under the category of prejudicial bullying.

Prejudicial bullying is based a perpetrator’s prejudices toward people of different races, religions or sexual orientation. Prejudicial abuse can encompass all other types of bullying as well. This type of bullying occurs when one person is targeted for being different. Prejudicial bullying is often severe and can be a stepping stone toward hate crimes. Because prejudicial bullying often targets groups with protected government status, there are additional protections for these victims and additional punishments for perpetrators.

Bullying was once considered a simple rite of passage that didn’t cause lasting harm. However, today’s research shows that bullying can have significant short- and long-term effects, impacting the victim’s education, physical and emotional health, and safety. According to an Oct. 2013 article in “Business Insider,” nearly one in three American schoolchildren in grades six through ten are affected by bullying. The article states that 40 percent of boys identified as bullies in school had three or more arrests by age 30.

Nearly 70 percent of students believe schools handle bullying situations badly, but how much responsibility do schools bear? With such high numbers and long-lasting effects, surely dealing with bullying should fall to both parents and schools. The kind of personality traits that lead to bullying can’t be solely addressed at school.

While schools are implementing new programs to address bullying, the best thing parents can do is teach children compassion and kindness. Parents can lead by example, too, showing children from a young age that cruelty and bullying are reprehensible behaviors that won’t be tolerated – not at school, work or elsewhere.

Contact: Amanda Browning 812-663-3111 x7004; amanda.browning@greensburgdailynews.com

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