Bullying is a type of youth violence disproportionately affecting students with disabilities. The good news is that we can bring it to an end.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, bullying includes “unwanted aggressive behavior by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners.” It involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is very likely to be repeated. Its harms take many forms, such as:
- physical (hitting, tripping),
- verbal (name calling, teasing), and
- social (spreading rumors, leaving out of group).
Bullying can happen anywhere: in person, electronically (i.e., “cyberbullying”), at school, or in other settings.
The National Center for Education Statistics reports that 20.2 % of students with disabilities ages 12 through 18 experienced bullying in the 2016–17 school year. Students with disabilities are more likely to be victims of sustained bullying, Rose (2016) finds. Compared with their non-disabled peers, says Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, students with disabilities are more worried about school safety and warned twice as often to not tattle when reporting bullying.
- StopBullying.gov explains the deep and pervasive harm not only for victims, but also for bystanders and the persons who bully as well. They provide examples of school-wide approaches to increase empathy, implement trauma-informed practices, and foster social-emotional learning. Read their fact sheet to learn about incorporating mindfulness practices, facilitating circle discussions, and initiating restorative justice programs.
- Rose (2016) recommends that students with disabilities should receive direct instruction in social and communication skills to buffer these adverse experiences.
- The Indiana Department of Education has a variety of bullying prevention resources for teachers, students, and administration such as student brochures, sample announcements, and curricula.
With a comprehensive approach, we can stop bullying. We need to continue to use and develop resources to address this societal challenge at all levels by implementing intervention and prevention programs to keep schools safe for all.
On April 6, 7, and 8, 2022, join the Indiana Secondary Transition Resource Center for online Transition Portfolio Training sessions. Part of our Spring 2022 webinar series, these no-cost sessions run twice daily and offer an introduction to transition portfolio examples, a demonstration of preferred/required section content, and a guided tour of each portfolio format.
Whether you've created many transition portfolios or this your first rodeo, this free training series has something for everyone. Seats are still available—register today!