Every 7 minutes a child is bullied; 85% of the time, there is no intervention of any kind
Each day, 160,000 students miss school due to bullying
The number one reason for suicide ages 11-16 yrs is bullying
By age 24, 60% of bullies have been charged with a crime
34% of all children report being bullied regularly at least several times a year
86% of children age 12-15 report at least some form of bullying has interfered with their studies moderately or severely
43% of middle school children avoid the bathroom and locker rooms at all costs due to certainty of being bullied
1 out of every 4 children is more than occasionally cyber-bullied
More 25 million families are currently traumatized by bullying in the U.S. today
When polled, 98% of students indicated that they want teachers to intervene
Boys who are bullies are nearly four times as likely as non-bullies to grow up to physically or sexually abuse their female partners according to a 2011 Harvard School of Health Study
In schools where there are bullying programs bullying is reduced by 50%.
Bullying was a factor in 2/3 of the 37 school shootings reviewed by the US Secret Service.
Recent bullying studies have found that schools that had a more intense bullying atmosphere, passing rates on standardized tests in such subjects as algebra, earth science and world history were 3% to 6% lower.
Sources: safeyouth.org; howtostopbullying.com; stopbullying.gov; nmsa.org; bullypolice.org; bullybeware.com; Kaiser Foundation; Nickelodeon; Focus, Center For Teen and Family Issues
The answer can be any number of motivating factors. In the end, bullies crave power and social currency. Bullies frequently take advantage of children who are more timid/less confident, but just as frequently target other children out of jealousy, vendettas, compulsiveness or simply capriciously.
For the record, there is never a "reason" for bullying. Bullies choose to bully and typically have unhealthy motivations in their own life for doing so.
Glad you asked: While many folks want bullying to be difficult to define, so that they can delay solutions due to the challenge in defining it, it really is simple:
Whenever one child has demonstrated that a behavior from another child is making them uncomfortable or has asked that child to stop a behavior for the same reason, and the child does not, on the second occasion it is bullying. Period.
There are many more invasive options beyond working with the school. Briefly, here are a few examples:
Call the superintendent and all of the school board members (if you request a meeting, they must honor it).
Visit your local law enforcement for ideas (sometimes a calm objective, yet unofficial visit from an officer will get a bully's attention and they will stop).
Inquire about protection at the local/county civil rights office. They will call your school quickly and begin a thorough investigation.
Talk to an attorney who specializes in children's issues or bullying. Google is your friend here.
Consider switching schools. Most states have laws that dictate, if the public school cannot provide a safe learning environment, they must pay for another school out of district including your child's transportation.
There is no single answer to this question. In short, even good parents miss unchecked, disrespectful behavior in children and then it becomes habit, which in the end, can be the makings of a bully.
Further, many parents either consciously or unconsciously drive home the importance of being popular and emphasize the benefits regularly. Many parents will facilitate their child's popularity and support it at any cost. In turn, children then will do anything to be popular including bullying other children.
Finally, many schools and communities either explicitly or implicitly find bullying acceptable. Once one group in this setting finds it acceptable or chooses to ignore it, it becomes the mindset of the community
Bystanders actually hold all of the power in the bully/bystander/bullied triad. If bystanders call out the bully as wrong or inappropriate, it is less likely they will continue. However, most parents do not teach their children to defend their friends. Further, children are taught to stay out of it.
While bystander children should not put themselves in harms way, they can report bullies or tell their parents.
The most important step to take prior to approaching your school or district's leadership and school board, is to form a well-rounded committee of concerned parents, bullying experts, attorneys, community leaders, teachers and counselors.
From there, study the issue before presenting the size of the problem or potential solutions to the school leaders.
Once organized, the keys to success are collaboration, compromise and patience.
That said, stay on task and don't give up no matter what!