Bullying in Schools

Bullying causes suffering in schools around the world. Liz Waid and Ryan Geertsma look at people working against this violent behavior.

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Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Liz Waid.

Voice 2 

And I’m Ryan Geertsma. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 1 

Khadeja Fahat is 14 years old. She is a student in England. But for a long time, Khadeja did not want to go school. In fact, she feared going to school. She told the BBC News,

Voice 3 

"Students treated me very badly almost every day… I used to go to school thinking: what is going to happen to me today? Is someone going to physically hurt me? Will someone shout at me or throw something at me?”

Voice 2 

Khadeja was afraid because students at her school were bullying her. And Khadeja is not alone. Many children around the world experience bullying. Today’s Spotlight program is about bullying in schools.

Voice 1 

Bullying is not a new problem. However, knowledge about bullying is growing. Health Behaviour In School-Aged Children or HBSC is a group of researchers from around the world. They define bullying as “the use of power and forceful or violent behaviour to cause suffering or to control another person.” In 2009, HBSC published the results of a large research study. Their researchers observed that bullying is not limited to a particular culture or place. Around the world, they found that 1 in every 4 students was involved in bullying - either as a bully or the victim of a bully.

Voice 2 

HBSC researchers discovered that age and sex affected bullying. Usually, bullying decreased as students grew older. And more boys experienced bullying than girls. They also noticed that boys and girls used different methods for bullying. Some bullies used direct forms of bullying - like physical violence or spoken words. Other bullies used indirect forms of bullying - like sending messages over the internet or mobile telephone. Boys were more likely to directly bully another child - using physical violence or spoken words. Girls were more likely to bully other student indirectly, or by using spoken words.

Voice 1 

Learning more about bullying is important because bullying can be very dangerous. Children who are bullied can suffer both physical and emotional harm. Khadeja, from the beginning of the program, told the BBC how bullying affected her,

Voice 3 

"I went from being a happy girl who loved going to school and learning, to someone that did not care about anything. I was so depressed… I just wanted to go to sleep to end each day. There was nothing to look forward to. I did not even enjoy coming home since I would just have to go to school the next day."

Voice 2 

Sadly, the effects of bullying can be even worse than Khadeja’s experience. In the summer of 2012, a tragic story spread around the world.  News organizations reported the death of a 13 year old boy in Otsu, Japan. For eight months students bullied this boy. They hit him. They kicked him. They forced him to eat dead insects. They tied his legs and arms together. They even forced him to act like he was killing himself. Then one day, the young boy did kill himself. And his father believes that the severe bullying caused him to end his life.

Voice 1 

This tragic story shocked the young boy’s family, the country of Japan and the world. After his son’s death, the young boy’s father wrote,

Voice 4 

“I want bullying to disappear from every school in Japan. I want schools to become a safe place again.”

Voice 2 

Parents, teachers and schools all over the world want the same thing. And many schools have already begun to take action. These schools are creating anti-bullying programs. Anti-bullying programs have two purposes. First, they teach and inform students about bullying. They do this by developing positive group behaviour, social skills, and communication.

Voice 1 

The second purpose of anti-bullying programs is to support teachers and other school workers. The programs teach adults how to identify bullying. They also give them ideas for managing different cases of bullying. This permits the teacher to consider the needs of the individual students involved.

Voice 2 

One anti-bullying program has been particularly effective. It is a program called KiVa. KiVa began in the country of Finland. But schools in many countries have chosen to use the KiVa program. KiVa is a research based program. All the materials and methods have been tested with large groups of students.

Voice 1 

The KiVa program involves the whole school community. This includes all of the students, parents, teachers, and other school workers. KiVa offers 10 bullying classes. It also offers short films, printed materials and even an anti-bullying computer game for students.

Voice 2 

The KiVa program is based on the idea that bullying is much bigger than just the bully and the victim. So, their program concentrates on training bystanders. Bystanders are students that observe bullying. They are not the bully or the person being bullied. But, these students are involved. And they have a choice. They can join the bully in harming the victim. They can do nothing. Or they can identify the situation as bullying and defend the victim.

Voice 1 

Anne Williford is a teacher and researcher at Kansas University in the United States. Kansas University is researching the use of the KiVa program in American schools.  She told the Science Daily news organization,

Voice 5 

"The KiVa program targets the students’ environment. They are trying to create an ecology where bullying is no longer accepted. Instead of targeting only a bully and victim for training and help, it targets the whole class. It includes students who are not involved in bullying behaviour. KiVa encourages skills to help students take actions - either large or small. These actions change the students’ ecology.  It becomes one that does not support bullying."

Voice 2 

Bullying can have very tragic effects. People around the world hope to rid schools of bullying. And programs like KiVa can help start this process.  However, even when bullying happens, there is still hope.  When people identify bullying and take action, things can change. And students who are bullied can recover from their experiences with help.

Voice 1 

Do you remember Khadeja from the beginning of the program? Her school did not have a plan to prevent bullying. But her mother recognized the problem and took action. Today, Khadeja attends a new school. She no longer experiences bullying. And she is starting to recover.  Khadeja told the BBC.

Voice 3 

"I had lost all of my confidence. I no longer believed in myself. But now my confidence is slowly building back up.”

Voice 2 

The writer of this program was Courtney Schutt. The producer was Mark Drenth. The voices you heard were from the United States and the United Kingdom. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again and read it on the Internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, “Bullying in Schools.”

Voice 1 

We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

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Do you think schools should stop children from bullying? Who has this responsibility?


Long Pham's avatar
Long Pham
said on February 07, 2013

Bullying had happened for a long time ago, it’s in schools, around our social life. But people did not concern to this, may be never effect deeply in everyone’s thinking, we forget to prevent them from our life, so Bullying are grown and grown today. Finally, a young boy was killed by bullying. From this tragic story, we hope that goverment and social organizations are interested in more this problem.

When was a young boy, I was also victim of bullying.

Dzung.vn's avatar
said on February 07, 2013

Wow, It was terrible! ! when I was a young boy. I have ever seen some of bullying in school but it was not serious as today. it’s simply like using force to get something from the other people or annoy somebody a little. such as something little such as a pencil, an eraser or something like that. why is bullying going to happen more serious than before? where is it originate? Maybe it come from a violence films, game or it’s simply, having a pleasurable feeling to saw other people suffering from their disturbance. I don’t know! I agree quite with the KiVA program and the methods they are applying.

Hector Nguyen's avatar
Hector Nguyen
said on February 11, 2013

I was a victim of bullying until grade 8.. It was terrible!!  :)

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said on March 20, 2014

The most important is that the attacker never remember what he or she did.
when they become an adult.

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Yi Sanghoon
said on March 20, 2014

In Korea, it had been television drama about Bullying. this subject is Queen of Classroom. the queen is teacher who have hurt in her mind.

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said on March 22, 2014

In the life everyone needs to be respected and loved. Not good things need to be pushed away. We build for a beautiful good world. We develop beautiful good things. Not good things affect development of the life negatively. Not good things affect development of all the life’s sides negatively. Beautiful good things develop the life. Beautiful good things develop all the life’s sides. Each of us is a part of the life. We are responsible to the life. We contribute to develop the life. We contribute to develop all the life’s sides.

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said on April 10, 2014

Hi every body ... can somebody tell me the name of voice 3 ...  really she has sexy voice and I loved it ... just I,m curious know her name only :) .. by the way the topic was marvelous .

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said on June 14, 2016

Undoubtadly, bullying is becoming the periodic dangerous phenomenon in many schools around the world. Neither teachers nor parents should stay indolent, reluctant taking note of bullying between children because the consequences of that violent behaviour can be tragical! Schools’ workers mustn’t neglect any possibility to discover and combat bullying. All of interested adults should undertake the responsibility for fighting bullying at all events so that every child could go to school with pleasure just as without fear primarily!
Thanks Spotlight team for interesting article!

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said on June 16, 2016

Bullying really is big problem to day!

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on June 16, 2016

The bullying is spreaning in around the world but I think that it more exsisting in the western world cause‏ ‏spreanig the gangs culture there.
Responsibility is on family, school and community.

Severino Ramos da Silva's avatar
Severino Ramos da Silva
said on June 19, 2016

From: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) (Severino Ramos)
To: spotlight programme
Subject: answer to the question above
Date: Sunday 19, June 2016
São Paulo SP Brazil

Dear Liz Waid, Ryan Geertsma, Courtney Schutt, and Mark Drenth:

Yes, I do. Definitely, schools must stop children from bullying.
This is a terrible situation and very difficult to judge who has the blame.
I think that everybody should receive a piece of advice from his or her parent before leaving home how to behave at anywhere and to respect each other as well as God taught us.
Besides, parents enroll their children at school to study, to learn, and to be treated well by teachers, students, school ‘s workers, and other members from school.
Therefore, the headmaster, headmistress, and head teacher have the resposability to keep the school or university in order.
Thus, the students will learn the subjects very well and without conflicts between them.
Finally, I think that every parents hope that from schools.

Yours regards,
Severino Ramos

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said on August 14, 2016

bullying is terrible.  it is very dangerous that more students are indulging themselves in smoking, drinking and gambling. they use their power to bully other students and more seriously, force other students to join them.  i think how to identify bullying is the most difficult thing because students who are bullied tend to hide their problem. friends, teachers and parents who are the closest to students have to take the responsibility for helping the them.

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said on June 22, 2019

Bullying has always existed in virtually every school in the world. Soon I learned that whoever practices it is, in fact, a coward who only acts when he feels protected by the group to which he belongs. I also learned that I must respect people, but that must be reciprocal. When someone tried to disrespect me, I acted so he would fear me. I had terrible quarrels with these cowards and I gave many lessons in them. Sometimes I would pick up physically, but pride would not hurt. And I’ve always had the turn. When I met a coward alone, he had to deal with me. And so I taught my daughters: respect people and demand respect. If someone does not respect you, he has to be afraid of you.