September 16th, 2011
08:00 PM ET

AC 360° investigates roots of bullying to find solutions

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
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Patricia Snover

    Thank you for all you are doing to help our children. I have an exchange student who is here to learn about American culture. Central Florida is no different than the rest of this country. Sadly, she came home one day to tell me about her Algebra teacher being teased by other students because she has a German accent. She has joined our volleyball team to find that there are bullies there, too. These girls are down right nasty. Verbally abusing other players and taking the fun out of the sport. She asked me not to say anything because it would just make things worse for her and the other players. The coach hasn't had one parent meeting and they are half way into the season. I doubt anything will be done through the coaches, but once the season is over, I will go forth and follow through. We need parents to stop teasing their children..mean what they say and follow through and not condone verbal abuse. Oh, and two years ago, at 12 yr old committed suicide because her father was angry with her about a C she had gotten on her report card. Sooo sad...

    September 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm |

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