Bullying is a public health problem. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the working definition of bullying is “unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.” It can occur in-person or through technology.
The body of research related to bullying prevention is growing. What it shows so far is that both the reasons people bully and how the behavior impacts other people is complex. Experts now classify bullying as an ACE – an adverse childhood experience. And ACES, as we’ve explored in other discussions on CoastLine, can negatively impact a person profoundly both physically and psychologically well into their adult years.
Whether there is a direct link between suicide and bullying is still an open question, despite headlines to the contrary. DHHS says while bullying can be a contributing factor in child suicide, it’s often not the only factor and there is still research to do on the link between the two.
In April of 2018, the Harvey L. Miller Foundation awarded New Hanover County Schools a $1.5 million grant for anti-bullying training and support at five district middle schools -- Murray, Myrtle Grove, Trask, Holly Shelter, and Williston.
New Hanover County Schools are partnering with the National School Climate Center and Facing History and Ourselves on the project.
Judy Stubblefield, Behavior Specialist, Bully Prevention Coordinator, PBIS Coordinator, New Hanover County Public Schools
Kristin Jackson, Director, Student Support Services, New Hanover County Public Schools