Bullying has been around for as long as children have been going to school. What’s changed though is how the bullying takes place and how much worse and widespread it has gotten. What was prevalent in high schools and junior high/middle schools has now gone down to the elementary school levels, with kids as young as Kindergarten age being harassed. Many people blame social media or a lack of parental oversight, but the reality is that schools are still a prime place for bullying to take place. Teachers are faced with larger classroom sizes every year, and even if they do what they can in the classroom, kids are still faced with bullies in the lunchroom, the library, the school bus, at recess, outside the buildings, in locker rooms, in bathrooms, and even in the hallways. No place is safe anymore. That is why bullying prevention is so important.
The Overwhelming Statistics
In 2005, the federal government started collecting data on the widespread epidemic of school bullying. Non-school related bullying on social media has accounted for 15 percent of children being bullied, but that number rose to 35 percent being bullied at school for 12 to 18-year-olds. In 2016, the latest statistics available, more than 20 percent of children reported they had been bullied, most of them saying it occurs at least several times a month at school. (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2016)
To counteract the problem, some schools have instituted an anti-bullying program. These programs help somewhat, but in most cases, the reports of bullying only drop about 25 percent in each school. So, while that’s a good start, we must implement more bullying prevention techniques in our schools.
How Bullying Impacts Children
When a child is fearful of another person or group of people, it can impact their learning. Instead of being able to focus on their studies, they are devoting mental time to thinking about ways to get away from bullies or how to avoid them. Studies start to take a back seat. The lack of focus isn’t just at school. Children who are bullied often have difficulties sleeping and exhibit signs of anxiety and depression. Some children begin to have a negative self-image, begin to withdraw into themselves, have their grades start slipping, and have noticeably higher health problems. Students who suffer long-term bullying often have suicidal ideation and higher rates of suicide.
Bullying Prevention in Schools
In addition to anti-bullying programs, there are other options schools can use to cut down and eliminate instances of bullying, fighting, and other student violations. One way is to monitor the whereabouts of each student with a close eye on those requiring it. Bullies often hold their victim’s ‘hostage’ until after the bell rings so that they can torment them. They also go into areas they shouldn’t be in at the time, such as in a locker room or a certain stairwell. Student tracking software can provide the information necessary to accurately determine who is late, how often they are late, or if they are entering areas of the campus they are not supposed to be.
Higgins offers PeopleTrack, which is a mobile student tracking solution allowing school administrators to monitor the movements of specific students, and to reliably enforce the school’s policies for specific violations. If there is a child who has spoken to a teacher or administrator about being bullied, the student who is doing the bullying can be flagged and tracked as they move from class to class to ensure they aren’t deliberately going out of their way to target another student or to skip a class.
Another way that PeopleTrack can be used for bullying prevention is with the use of student ID’s. Tracking daily attendance with today’s cost-effective ID cards has been proven to reduce student tardiness and prevent restricted students from entering the premises to make sure that the only kids on campus are the ones who belong there.
While bullying has been around for ages, it has gotten notably worse in recent years. Some schools are doing better than others in addressing the bullying epidemic and taking control of situations that occur on their school property. A safe and secure environment means that children can learn better, have better retention of the material, and enjoy the learning process. And what teacher or administrator wouldn’t want that?
To increase security at your school and to target the bullying epidemic, we invite you to contact Higgins today to find out what solutions are the best for your school and students. We ensure all our customers understand the myriad options our products can deliver and how they can help each school to better track the students and help eliminate the rampant bullying problem facing schools today.