A comprehensive guide: Strategies for dealing with bullies
By Carol Ottolenghi, Ph.D., MLIS
Research Librarian, Office of the Ohio Attorney General
Bullying is not a new phenomenon. Today though, the Internet and cell phones offer brand-new opportunities to bullies.
Bullying isn't restricted by race, religion, class, gender, gender-orientation, ethnicity, age, or disability. Up to 29 percent of students define themselves as either victims, bullies, or both. A 2001 study by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) found that approximately 1.6 million children are bullied at least once a week. Boys experienced physical and verbal bullying most often. Girls experienced verbal bullying (both taunting and insults of a sexual nature) and bullying-by-rumor most often.
Being bullied is not just an unpleasant rite of passage through childhood," said NICHD director Duane Alexander, M.D. "It's a public health problem that merits attention. People who were bullied as children are more likely to suffer from depression and low self-esteem well into adulthood, and the bullies themselves are more likely to engage in criminal behavior later in life."
"Bullying" means different things to different people. Not all fights, taunts, etc. between children are acts of bullying. Acts of bullying are identified by two components: 1) Repetition; and, 2) An imbalance of power. It involves repeated physical, verbal or psychological attacks or intimidation directed against a victim who cannot properly defend him- or herself because of size or strength, or because the victim is outnumbered or less psychologically resilient.
- Rumor-spreading and isolation;
- Demands for money;
- Destruction of property;
- Theft of valued possessions;
- Destruction of another's work;
- Sexual harassment, including repeated exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual propositioning and unwanted physical contact;
- Ostracism based on race, physical characteristics, or perceived sexual orientation;
Ohio Laws Regarding Bullying and Intimidation
Ohio laws addressing bullying may be found in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC). The ORC is available online at http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/.
The laws that list school district responsibilities regarding bullying are ORC 117.53, 3301.22, 3313.66.6, and 3313.66.7. Additional laws related to bullying are:
- 2927.12 (ethnic intimidation);
- 2913.02 (theft by intimidation);
- 2905.12 (coercion);
- 2907.03 (sexual battery);
- 2917.21, 4931.31, 4931.99 (telecommunications harassment).
Bibliographies are an excellent place to find books, articles, studies, and websites about bullying. A few are listed below; check with your librarians for others.
Canton Public Library. (2008) Keeping Kids Kool. http://www.cantonpl.org/specialc/bullying.html;
Educators and parents looking for resources to help kids resolve conflicts can find books listed in this annotated bibliography from the Canton (Michigan) Public Library Internet Branch. Because this is an Internet library, resource entries include only the resource name and a brief description. For more information (author, publisher), click on the resource.
Justice Institute of British Columbia Library. (2008) Bullying: A Listing of Materials Available at the Justice Institute Library.
In addition to written and video resources for educators and parents, this listing includes resources on workplace and adult-on-adult bullying.
Maternal and Child Health Library (MCHLibrary). (2008) Bullying: Bibliography of Materials from MCHLine.
This annotated bibliography from the MCH Library at Georgetown University includes model anti-bullying policies, gender-orientation bullying, and many free training aids.
Michaelson, Tessa. (2008) Thick-skinned, Thin-skinned, the Skin I'm in: Books about Bullying, Teasing, Relational Aggression and School Violence. http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/books/detailListBooks.asp?idBookLists=309
Michaelson's bibliography, published by the University of Wisconsin, focuses on children's fiction. Titles are grouped by grade level and viewpoint (target, bully, or observer).
National Child Protection Clearinghouse. (2007) Bullying Bibliography. http://www.aifs.gov.au/nch/bib/bully.html
The National Child Protection Clearinghouse is funded by the Australian Government, but the concerns are cross-national: Disabilities, sexual coercion, contributing family and school variables, race, and bystander behavior. Many of the studies and books in this annotated bibliography are available via the Internet.
Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation Library. (2005) Bullying: Bibliography.
This listing of books, articles, and videos is geared toward educators in North America.
Ralston, Jennifer. (2005) Bullies and Bullying. http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/ca529710.html
Published by the School Library Journal, this annotated booklist reviews relevant fiction and nonfiction by grade level. There also are videos, workbooks and suggestions for teachers.
University of Michigan Library: Social Work Library. (2008) Selected Bibliography of School Violence Resources.
Educators looking for books, journals, websites and databases will find a wealth of how-to and statistical resources in this annotated bibliography.
Tens of thousands of bully-related articles can be found in databases, and the State Library of Ohio makes some truly excellent databases available to all Ohioans. All you need is a free library card from the State Library.
Databases include EBSCOhost, which combines newspaper, legal, social science, medical, and education-based databases; and Science Citation Index Expanded, which provides access to information from approximately 5,900 journals. Search the databases with various combinations of the following search terms
A Google search of the word "bullying" brings up more than 14 million hits. Not all information of the Internet is valid, so look at the "About Us" tab on a website to find out who publishes it. Website address endings can also give you an idea of who the publisher is. For example, site addresses ending with .gov are published by a government agency. Sites ending with .org are published by non-profit organizations. The websites listed below are good general resources. Additional websites can be found in the online bibliographies listed in the above Bibliographies section.
American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Facts for Families
Short general articles on many bullying/abuse-related topics can be found here. Links at the end of each article take readers to similar subjects.
Bullying: A Webring & External Bibliography with Links
This site has links to the anti-bullying websites from school and community organizations around the world.
Bullying-National Crime Prevention Council
This information-packed site has strategies for kids, parents, and educators; a blog; a club kids can join; training; and reproducible publications.
Bullying-National Youth Violence Prevention Center
In addition to articles and statistics, this website links users to high-quality information and strategies on dozens of bullying-related websites.
This site from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, part of the National Institutes of Health, has articles, laws, research, and games. It also has information on trends in bullying, such as cyberbullying and the changing ways that girls bully.
National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention
The National Center for Mental Health Promotion and Youth Violence Prevention provides technical assistance and training to school districts and communities that receive grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This website provides links to bullying/violence prevention websites and publications for educators.
Stop Bullying Now
This kid-oriented site has games, letters from other kids, and cartoon webisodes that can be shown to individuals or classes. It is created and maintained by the Health Resources and Services Administration of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
U.S. Department of Justice
The U.S. Department of Justice site includes information and handouts from Federal law enforcement sites. A May 2008 search for the word "bully" brought up more than 150 relevant results, including Bullying in Schools. Bullying in Schools is one of the U.S. Department of Justice's Problem-oriented Guides for Police Problem-specific Guides. Within its 66 pages, is a wealth of background and statistical information, reviews of the literature on bullying, ways to analyze a school's problem, possible educator responses to bullying, and ways to measure response effectiveness.
Getting a free library card from the State Library
The State Library of Ohio holds a wealth of resources for all Ohioans. To obtain a free Library card from the State Library of Ohio:
1) Go to the State Library of Ohio website, http://www.library.ohio.gov/PCS/GetACard.
2) Scroll down to "Ohio Residents."
3) Click on "Get a Library Card."
4) Fill out the form.
Once you have your card (or a card from an Ohio college or university), you may use the databases listed. To do so:
Bonus articleLife Strategies for Dealing with Bullies, by Jay McGraw.
More bully articles