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Bias-Based Bullying May Be More Detrimental to the Youth

Bias-bullying is when a person is being bullied because of his race and gender, religion and disability. / Photo by: Getty Images

 

Bullying has plagued homes, schools, and workplaces for a long time now. It has affected a number of lives, may it be kids or adults. Not only does it have a negative impact on the social environment, but it also creates an atmosphere of fear among people. Although bullying has been recognized as an issue detrimental to one's overall well-being, the victims of this behavior are still increasing.

In a recent statistics showed by the Stopbullying.gov, 49% of grades 4 to 12 have experienced bullying in the United States alone at least once a month, while 40.6%  of students reported some type of frequent involvement in bullying. These numbers proved how prevalent bullying is especially in schools. Additionally, previous studies showed that the most bullying issues are based on gender, race, and stigma.

How Bias-Based Bullying Does More Harm

Bullying continues to be a worldwide issue that's difficult to stop. A research found out that bias-based bullying, in which students are particularly being bullied specifically on race and gender, is more detrimental than generalized bullying. Some aspects also include ethnicity, religion, disability or sexual orientation. One of the researchers, Kelly Lynn Mulvey, explained that this type of bullying occurs when a child is targeted because of two or more aspects of their social identity. This is far different than generalized bullying where a child is being bullied based on their academic interests, fashion choices, and more. 

To further investigate this issue, the researchers analyzed the data of 678 students between ages 12 and 18 from 2015 National Crime Victimization Survey of the School Crime Supplement to the Department of Justice. About 487 students are victims of generalized bullying, 117 students reported one type of bias-based bullying while 64 students are victims of multiple bias-based bullying. With these numbers, it was found out that children who were targeted with multiple bias-based bullying had experienced the worst impacts such as school avoidance, fear of being harmed, and detrimental effects on them physically, psychologically, and mentally.

According to the Science Daily, there are little efforts to mitigate the harms of bullying. "These findings show that a one-size-fits-all approach to anti-bullying campaigns is not very effective. Bias-based bullying and multiple bias-based bullying have different effects on students, and interventions are needed to focus on those underlying biases," Elan Hope, one of the researchers said. 

Bullying Interventions 

In a research conducted by Valerie A. Earnshaw, Sari L. Reisner, David D. Menino, V. Paul Poteat, Laura M. Bogart, Tia N. Barnes, and Mark A. Schuster entitled "Stigma-based bullying interventions: A systematic review," the researchers deeply looked in stigma-based bullying and the methods in preventing this kind of behavior. 

According to the Science Daily, the interventions being used to address bullying has also some issues considering how they were implemented and evaluated. Fortunately, Earnshaw is on the process of identifying how the school health professionals can effectively address LGBTQ bullying. Additionally, she concluded that strategies like bystander intervention can be helpful in addressing the issues of this behavior. However, there's still need some work to be done to determine how bullying based on stigma can be resolved. 

The researchers found out that there's an increasing intervention to address stigma-based bullying specifically to young people with stigmatized identities. In fact, six were published between 200-2007 while 16 from 2008-2015. The movements in favor of equality and civil rights to LGBTQ individuals play a major role in this progress. While this is a good news, the researchers also concluded that interventions aren't evenly distributed across stigmas. For instance, race-based bullying has only two types of interventions that are being used in schools.

Moreover, the interventions that are being created and developed should also undergo strict evaluation and assessment. This will help in making sure that the solutions will be effectively implemented.

"Overall, stigma-based bullying is a complex phenomenon that takes an 'all hands on deck' approach to addressing," Earnshaw said. "Students, teachers, parents, healthcare providers, coaches, religious leaders, and policymakers all have a role to play in ending it and improving the wellbeing of youth who are affected by it."

 

People have a huge role in ending bullying as well as helping in improving the mental health of those who are bullied. / Photo by: Katarzyna Białasiewicz via 123rf

 

Why is it Hard to Prevent Bias-Based Bullying?

With a lot of interventions created, the issues of bias-based bullying are still prevalent. Even the teachers are failing to notice and address such behavior. Unfortunately, they are also involved sometimes. For instance, physical education teachers fail to respond to bullying based on weight while others fail to address bullying behaviors based on sexual orientation. Not recognizing these kinds of cases can lead to tragic consequences. 

According to The Conversation, educators and staff fail to recognize and respond to bullying because they lack the knowledge and skills to address it. Therefore, one of the best way to prevent this behavior in school is to educate teachers about bias-based bullying. In this way, they will gain a better understanding of the issue and learn how to address it effectively.

 

 

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