New York (CNN) - A new study commissioned by CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360°" found that the stereotype of the schoolyard bully preying on the weak doesn't reflect reality in schools.
Instead, the research shows that many students are involved in "social combat" - a constant verbal, physical and cyber fight to the top of the school social hierarchy.
"Kids are caught up in patterns of cruelty and aggression that have to do with jockeying for status," explains Robert Faris, a sociologist who "Anderson Cooper 360°" partnered with for the pilot study. "It's really not the kids that are psychologically troubled who are on the margins or the fringes of the school's social life. It's the kids right in the middle, at the heart of things ... often, typically highly, well-liked popular kids who are engaging in these behaviors."
Faris, along with the co-author of the study, Diane Felmlee, also found that bullies, who they call aggressors, and victims are not defined roles, but in many cases, they can be the same person. The higher a student rises on the social ladder, the more they bully other students and the more other students bully them.
"When kids increase in their status, on average, they tend to have a higher risk of victimization as well as a higher risk of becoming aggressive," Faris says.
The studywas conducted this spring at The Wheatley School, a nationally top-ranked high school on Long Island, New York. More than 700 students at the school were given a survey with 28 questions on aggressive behavior four separate times throughout the semester. They were also given a roster of the entire school in which every student had an identification number and kids were asked to write down specifically who did what.
Watch "The roots of bullying."
(CNN) – For the wife of at least one survivor of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, April 20, 2010 is the day she lost her husband. Meccah Boynton-Brown says although her husband Doug made it off the ill-fated rig, he will never be the same.
"There were more than 11 lives lost that day. Yes, there are 11 people that will never come home and see their families again, and my heart is so sad for them," Boynton-Brown said. But she added, "I am married to a different person now. I will always stand by his side but it seems like his previous spirit and character will never return."
According to medical records provided to CNN, Doug Brown has been diagnosed with a litany of mental issues from the injuries he sustained and the horrors he saw onboard the Deepwater Horizon including post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and depression and anxiety. His wife Meccah says his near-constant cycle of anxiety, frustration, anger and depression has had a profoundly detrimental effect on them and their 11 year-old daughter Kirah.
"My life has come to a stop. My daughter's life has pretty much come to a stop . . . the first thing I think Doug wants is to sleep a whole night without having a nightmare," she said.
(CNN) – On June 4, 1954, wealthy African-American land owner Isadore Banks disappeared in his hometown of Marion, Arkansas and was discovered days later chained to a tree, shot and burned beyond recognition. For nearly 57 years, his family has lived with the pain of two mysteries: who killed him and what happened to his land. Now, one of those mysteries might finally be solved.
His son Jim Banks says his father owned more than 1000 acres at the time of his death but any record of ownership had disappeared.
“What happened to his land? That’s the $64,000 question … and all records have been destroyed,” Banks said.
He maintains conspirators plotted to take the land away from his family, possibly providing a motive for his father’s murder. “I certainly believe that with all of my heart,” he said, adding, “he owned a great deal of land and at that time, that wasn’t common to have that kind of wealth for a black man. Offers had been made many times and he refused.”
CNN was able to uncover records showing Banks had owned land in the years leading up to his death but no records reflecting proof of ownership at the time he was killed.
Now, the lingering questions over what happened to Isadore Banks’ land are close to being answered.
Editor's note: "AC360°" is investigating some of the nation's most notorious cold cases. Watch nightly at 10 ET.
(CNN) - Cherrie Mahan was 8 years old when she disappeared from her bus stop one day after school in 1985. Now, nearly 26 years after she vanished, the lead investigator says there could be a break in the case.
"Recently, a person contacted Pennsylvania State Police, and they have the potential to be crucial to the investigation in the future," Trooper Robert McGraw said. "We're highly optimistic that this lead has the potential to bring closure to Cherrie's family."
Cherrie was the first child to appear on a "Have You Seen Me?" mailer, soon after she disappeared February 22, 1985.
She was last seen getting off a school bus and was supposed to walk 200 feet to her home in rural Winfield Township in western Pennsylvania. On any other day, her mother would have been there to meet her.
"I should have been there when Cherrie got off the school bus, and I wasn't," Janice McKinney told CNN's Randi Kaye. "Four o'clock, the bus came, and we heard it. And she just never came up the driveway."
Since that moment, Cherrie's mother has been living every parent's nightmare. "I think my guilt started at that point, because up until that day, I was there. And if I would have been there, I wouldn't be going through this," she said.
(CNN) - For Joey Kemmerling, it was his decision to reveal his sexual orientation that triggered relentless bullying at school.
"I came out of the closet as gay in eighth grade and ever since I've been bullied. I was, for lack of a better word, and still am, the school faggot," the 16-year-old Joey recently told CNN's Anderson Cooper.
The Pennsylvania native said his decision to come out to classmates not only evoked a firestorm of vicious taunts but also led to a threat on his life.
"There was a point where a kid had a knife on school premises and said, 'I'm going to kill him. I want that faggot dead.' And I had to transfer schools," Joey said.
The bullying persisted outside of school, both online and on the street. His mother, Joyce Mundy, said beyond her son being bullied online, she had to file a police report after two boys followed Joey on his walk home, making threatening comments the entire way.
Joey and seven other teens recently spoke to Cooper about the harsh realities of bullying. All eight youngsters said they were not surprised by the recent rash of headlines about suicides of apparent bullying victims.
In 2004, Roy Hallums was abducted in Iraq and held hostage by insurgents for 311 days.
The American contractor was ambushed at his company’s compound in Baghdad by the Mujahideen Army, made up primarily of former intelligence officers under Saddam Hussein’s administration. Although he was moved around, Hallums spent most of his captivity imprisoned in an underground cell in Al-Mahmoudiyah, about 15 miles outside of Baghdad.
Hallums was working for the Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Company when he was taken by insurgents. The company was involved in building projects in Iraq and had food service contracts with the U.S. military.
Hallums, who was 56 when he was abducted, describes his experience in his new book, “Buried Alive.” He told CNN that his situation was excruciating. Temperatures soared to 120 degrees and every single day of his captivity he lived in fear that his captors would execute him.
Turkey isn’t the only thing to look forward to this week … if you’re hearty enough to brave the stores this holiday weekend, experts we spoke to said there are some huge deals to be had.
A majority of Black Friday shoppers are going to be looking for electronics and folks at Consumer Reports tell us that this is the season for HD televisions. With the country still bogged down by an economic crisis, HD TV makers are betting that people will still be lured into buying one if the price is right.
Editor's Note: Tune in tonight for Gary Tuchman's report from the Tea Party Express. Tonight AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.
The Tea Party Express hit the road on Sunday, kicking off a nationwide tour with plans to hold rallies in 38 cities in 19 days.
The Tea Party Express departed from San Diego yesterday and will traverse the nation, coast-to-cast, before ending up in Orlando, Florida on Veteran’s day.
The Tea Party Express calls for less government spending, and opposes increased government involvement in health care, corporate bailouts and deficit spending.
Gary Tuchman reports tonight on 360° on the people who are taking part in the protests and looks into why they're frustrated, worried and angry. He'll be live from a protest in Fresno, Calif. tonight.
These images were taken at a protest in Los Angeles on Sunday.
Gary interviews Tea Party protesters.
Producer Chuck Hadad sits with Rev. Al Sharpton in the office of Sharpton's Harlem headquarters.
Al Sharpton on his way to the Apollo Theater.
Al Sharpton and company host his daily radio show inside the Apollo Theater.
Al Sharpton and Spike Lee do some glad-handing outside the Apollo Theater.
Editor's Note: AC360° Producer Chuck Hadad tagged along with Rev. Al Sharpton as he planned and attended Tuesday's memorial honoring Michael Jackson at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. Here are some snapshots from the day.
Right now, I'm riding shotgun with the ringmaster of the Michael Jackson media circus... Actually, to be more exact, I'm riding in the backseat.
We're on our way to the Apollo Theater in Reverend Al Sharpton's SUV and "the Rev," as his staff and others call him, has allowed 360° virtually unfettered access to every behind the scenes meeting, every phone call, every Facebook message, every text message and even every tweet.
With a story as fast-moving as the mystery and drama over Michael Jackson's death, managing this circus is a full-time job.
We started with Sharpton at dawn after he'd landed on a red-eye flight back from LA. He was on his way to do a segment with "Good Morning America," the first of 7 interviews before noon.
Sharpton has fielded calls from Jackson family attorney L. Londell McMillan on how to handle media questions about the custody of Jackson's kids and texted Spike Lee about today's tribute at the Apollo Theater.
Editor's Note: AC360° Producer Chuck Hadad tagged along with Rev. Al Sharpton as he planned and attended today's memorial honoring Michael Jackson at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. Here are some snapshots from the day.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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