A wave of teen suicides due to bullying last year led to a national hysteria about the issue and deep introspection by parents, educators and law-makers on how to stem the tide. In the year since, new laws have been enacted in states, countless experts have offered opinions on the problem and the media has highlighted the most tragic stories to shine a spotlight on bullying in America. Ultimately, however, it’s left to schools to actually enact reform and they’re given few solutions to end the problem, only vague orders to implement anti-bullying programs.
SPECIAL REPORT: Stop Bullying: Speak up
We at AC 360° also went through deep introspection on the issue. We wondered what we could do, beyond reporting on bullying, to make our kids any safer. We decided to start at the root of the problem with a simple, yet vital question: do people understand what causes kids to bully? After a year-long investigation we came to an alarming conclusion: no.
AC 360° teamed up with sociologists from the University of California whose research is shaking the popular conceptions about bullying to their core. Among the many revelations their work has found is that the stereotype of the schoolyard bully preying on the weak doesn’t begin to reflect the reality in schools. Instead, they liken high schools to “social combat” where students are trying to fight their way to the top of the social hierarchy. The higher students ascend this social ladder, the more aggressive they become.
We put their theories to the test at one high school on Long Island, New York and discovered some ground-breaking universal truths about high schools across the country. Our hope is by finding the causes of bullying, schools will be much better armed to fight the problem.
Be sure to tune in Sunday, October 9th at 8pm for our town hall on bullying, and the entire following week on AC 360° at 8pm and 10pm, to learn more about what we uncovered.
Filed under: Bullying
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