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Public Agenda “Bullying is serious” validates SocialSmarts own poll

April 29, 2010

A few minutes ago I received an email alert from Public Agenda — according to their recent report, nearly 3 out of 4 Americans believe bullying and harassment is a serious problem in their public schools.

My first response was “ha!”  Now we have Public Agenda, a very well respected public research group, validating what we learned last year in our own SocialSmarts poll.  The majority of respondents indicated bullying (and related discipline issues) were the biggest concern they had about their school.

Our own survey on bullying, presently active, indicates that of our respondents, 82% indicated they have experienced bullying in their schools within the current school year. (If you know an educator who wants to respond, the link to the survey is

Ironically, 76% of respondents who have answered to date, indicate they have an anti-bullying program in place, so again, we have to question how well these programs are working.

In the Public Agenda report, nearly 1/2 of the respondents said bullying was not just serious, but “very serious;” only illegal drugs and “lack of respect for the teacher” rated higher.

Isn’t that interesting…”lack of respect for teacher” and bullying — which is lack of respect (and empathy) for one another…they are related. It’s back to social skills, gang…our kids are entering the classroom environments without the social skills that allow them to be successful there, and “garden variety” lack of respect for teachers, others, time, property is only one point on the same continuum that leads to more extreme behaviors such as psychological, social or even physical bullying.

I see this as more information that tells us what we already suspected: bullying is a major problem in our schools, but only part of the overall problem and the time, money and energy we are spending to cure it isn’t adequately effective.  I’ll say it again: we continue to put bandaids on the outward lesions but do nothing to stop the bleeding from the severed artery.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 30, 2010 4:18 am

    Nice information, I really appreciate the way you presented.Thanks for sharing..

  2. April 30, 2010 7:37 am

    The first thing to really get to grips with is how you define “bullying”. The US has a legal definition, the UK doesn’t. I’ve had plenty of experience with school bullying, understanding and success preventing it (many years as a boarding school housemaster, amongst other things) and one of the things I am absolutely sure of, is that of those 3 out of 4 people, most incidents won’t be bullying at all. The best research by far on this is by Dan Olweus from Norway.

    It has to be sustained, precisely focused, intentionally harmful and contrary to popular myth, in most cases the bully is almost always in denial and is the last person to believe they are guilty of bullying.

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