The following is an older article written before bullying became all about GLTB and was just about any and all kids.  It was probably written in 1995. I ran across it in a file and thought I should post it because I have been concerned about bullying for a lot longer than the GLTB initiative.  It doesn't have the source except the dateline is New York (UPI) and the people who state their conclusions are listed. The study on which it was apparently based, is posted at the bottom of the page.

Schoolyard bullies and their victims are a problem that can't be shrugged off as just "kids being kids," says a report from the National School Safety Center, estimating that one in seven students is either a bully or a victim.

Younger and weaker students--grades two to six--are the most exposed, it claimed.  Moreover, says the report, "Educating the Public About Bullies," bullying is not just an American problem.  It occurs in schools in Scandinavia, Germany, Japan, Great Britain and other countries.

Published in the Center's journal, "School Safety," the report is based on discussions during the first Center-sponsored "Schoolyard Bully Practicum" that took place earlier this year at Harvard University.

Conferees included internationally known researchers from the fields of psychology, education and law enforcement, says Ronald D. Stephens, executive director for NSSC.

Its aim is to "promote school safety, improve discipline, increase attendance and suppress drug traffic and abuse in all our nation's schools." In the report, Stephens says:

"Schoolyard bullies and their victims pose a serious problem that can't be shrugged off as just kids being kids.

"One in seven students is either a bully or the victim of a bully.  These startling findings are the result of recent studies in Scandinavia, but the problem appears wide spread in the United States as well."

Ronald W. Garrison, field services director of the Center, said, "As I talk to educators around the country, I find there is growing awareness of the problem.  We are especially concerned about the civtims -- typically shy, reserved children who are easily swayed, easily assaulted."

Stephens said research has shown that a child who bullies others usually is physically larger than the victim and is five times more likely than other children to fall into deeper trouble as an adult.

"A high number of bullies underachieve in school or drop out," he says.

"And as adults they perform below potential throughout their careers, frequently even ending up in prison for adult crimes.  Worst of all, they are likely to raise a new generation of bullies through abusive parental behavior."

Dan Olweus, a professor at the University of Bergen, Norway, and recently a fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University, is the source of the estimate "one in seven either bullies or is the victim of a bully."

"If we apply, for illustrative purposes, the Scandinavian percentages to the population of grades 1-9 students in the United States, we would estimate that some 4.8 million American youngsters would be involved with these problems," Olweus reports.

Unlike adults who are hassled, kids have little recourse against bullies, Stephens contends.

"They may be shunned by other children and too ashamed to admit their plight to parents or teachers," he says.

"Some victims feel compelled to stand up and fight to save face in the eyes of their classmates or their father.

"Most commonly, these students go out of their way to avoid unsafe turf on campus.

"Other victims react dramatically by running away from home or by attempting suicide.

What makes a bully?

Olweus says too little love and care and too much freedom in childhood are conditions that contribute strongly to the development of an aggressive personality pattern.

Typical bullies, he asserts, "have an aggressive personality pattern combined with physical strength."


I would also suggest that the bullies have lower than average IQ's as well, but no one likes to hear that!

It would also help the bully to get some attention for him/her before he/she goes down the road that this behavior begins.

[Mary McGarr]


Here is the longer study as found:


The Good, The Bad and The Bully

Assault. Robbery. Extortion. These acts are crimes when the victims are adults. But when

children are the victims and perpetrators of these "crimes" they often are dismissed as everyday

schoolyard experiences; just cases of bullying.

Bullying has evolved into something that today should not be taken lightly. One in seven

students in grades one through nine is either a bully or the victim of a bully, according to

statistics gathered in Scandinavia, but the problem appears to be widespread in the United

States as well. A 1995 survey of California sixth through twelfth graders, conducted by Michael

Furlong, Ph.D., an associate professor who specializes in the training of school psychologists at

the University of California, Santa Barbara’s Graduate School of Education, found that although

getting good grades was the number one worry of students, violence in the schools ranked as

the third greatest worry at 10.7 percent, just behind the 11.7 percent who found being accepted

by peers to be their top concern. A national survey found that 4.4 percent of students

nationwide stayed home one day in the previous month because of personal safety reasons.

This fear and a lack of good grades have translated, in some schools, as among the major

reasons for dropping out.

Parents and other concerned adults also have found "lack of discipline" and

"fighting/violence/gangs" as the top concerns about America's public schools, according to a

1995 Phi Delta Kappa - Gallup Poll. It is essential that school psychologists and educators to be

aware of what is known about the occurrence of violence in schools and the prevention and

interaction strategies that have been implemented.

In spite of the serious nature of the bullying problem -- and there is plenty of research to

attest to its long-term negative impacts -- there are disturbing paradoxes surrounding the


Bullying is technically defined as chronic physical and verbal intimidation and attacks by

one individual or a group of individuals on a specific target, according to Dr. Furlong. This is not

just random aggressive behavior. Bullies single out weaker kids for repeated attacks. It is the

repetition that leads to long-term problems for the victim.

Yet, many school administrators, teachers and parents tend to dismiss bullying as a rite

of passage, a case of "kids being kids." They frequently are not aware of most student

victimization. American schools, for the most part, have not found constructive ways of dealing

with bullies. However, a handful of victims are fighting back in ways ranging from filing multimillion-

dollar lawsuits against school districts, to taking the lives of fellow students who have

been harassing them.

Being a bully is not necessarily something the bully -- or the victim -- will simply outgrow.

More than likely, that bully will taunt and bully his way through life. According to some studies,

he has a one in four chance of having a criminal record by his 30th birthday, as compared to

other boys' odds of one in 20. His poor school performance is now reflected in his poor job

performance, or inability to hold onto a job. And he could be raising a bully of his own. In fact,

bully prevention could save money for the public and businesses by creating better workers.

The bully is not the kid who occasionally pushes or shoves a classmate. On the other

hand, bullies are not so seriously antisocial as to be diagnosed as a "seriously disturbed child”.

Instead, bullies are a subset of aggressive kids who seem to derive satisfaction from harming

others, physically or psychologically. Such aggression is a way of life for them, and they don't

pick a fair fight.

The roots of violent behavior are complex, but experts cite a consistent range of

influences that put children at risk. "Violence has many causes; genetic, physiological,

economic factors; social class, poverty; observing violence at home or on television. All of these

contribute. It's never just one thing," Leonard Eron, Ph.D., recently told Parents Magazine. Eron

is a researcher in developmental psychology at the Institute for Social Research at the

University of Michigan.

Bullies are usually boys, although girl bullies do exist. Rather than attacking their victims

physically, girl bullies are apt to harass them verbally or simply exclude them from the group.

More than likely, they will bully other girls. Although they may not face the same bleak future as

their male counterparts, they, as adults, tend to have psychological problems and punish their

children severely, thus contributing to a new generation of bullies.

Researchers have found that male bullies tend to suffer from the combination of parental

influence, aspects of a child's home environment and a hot-headed temperament. They tend to

pick on younger, weaker students, many of whom rank higher intellectually.

In his groundbreaking long-term study, published in 1993, Dan Olweus, Ph.D., a

Norwegian psychology professor regarded by many as the premier researcher on bully and

victim problems, found that by age 23, victims of bullies' actions were more depressed and had

lower self-esteem than peers who were not bullied. The study also showed that by age 23,

about 60 percent of the boys identified as bullies in middle school had at least one criminal

conviction and 35-40 percent of them had three or more convictions.

Dr. Eron's 22-year study yielded similar results. He found that eight-year-old bullies are

five times more likely than their less aggressive classmates to have a criminal record by their

30th birthday. He also found strong evidence of spousal abuse, poor academic achievement,

and a tendency to physically discipline their children -- to the point in which they are raising a

new generation of bullies.

Trouble begins when parents pay little attention to their children or reject them

altogether, according to Dr. Olweus, who has been studying bullies for more than 30 years. Too

much freedom in childhood mixed with too little loving care can erupt into an aggressive

personality. He also has found that physical violence used as punishment by an adult results in

more violence by the child.

Television also is considered a culprit. Preschoolers often watch nearly four hours of

television every day, and the American Psychological Association estimates that the average

child witnesses 8,000 murders and over 100,000 other violent acts by age 12. The messages

associated with the violence can be misleading. For example, cartoon violence is trivialized; no

one ever suffers permanent harm.

Recent studies by Dr. Olweus have found that there are three myths about bullying.

One view holds that bully/victim problems are a consequence of large classes, with the larger

the class the higher number of bullies. But Dr. Olweus found that the size of the class or the

school appears to be negligible when it comes to the frequency or level of bullying.

A second myth holds that bullies are reacting to their own failure or frustrations with

school. Yet studies do not show this to be true. And the third myth is that victims are usually

students who are fat, have red hair, use glasses or speak in an unusual manner. But data

recently gathered did not show this to be the case, even though many students believe it to be


Instead, the data suggest that personality characteristics, in combination with physical

strength or weakness in the case of boys, play major roles in the development of both bullies

and their victims.

Typical victims are more anxious and insecure than students in general and are often

cautious, sensitive and quiet. When attacked, they often react by crying, especially in the lower

grades, and by withdrawing. They suffer from low self-esteem, look upon themselves as failures

and feel unattractive, stupid and ashamed. As a rule, they do not have a single best friend in

their class. Physically weak, these children have a negative view toward violence and the use of

violent means. Their lack of ability to concentrate and anxious behavior patterns may cause

irritation and tension around them. Some of these students are hyperactive and their behavior

provokes other students.

Dr. Olweus' follow-up study of 23-year-olds, half of them victims and half who were not,

showed that former victims were much more likely to be depressed and have poorer selfesteem.

The findings clearly suggested that the earlier, persistent victimization had left its scars.

Bullies, on the other hand, are not only aggressive toward peers, but toward adults as

well. They have a more positive attitude toward violence than students in general. They are

impulsive, have a strong need to dominate others and express little empathy for victims. Boy

bullies tend to be physically stronger than their peers.

While many psychologists and psychiatrists believe bullies, like their victims, are

actually anxious and insecure, there is nothing in the research to support this view, according to

Dr. Olweus. Instead, bullies demonstrated little anxiety and insecurity or were average in these

areas. And they did not suffer from poor self-esteem.

Because children expect schools to be safe and nurturing places, the effects of violence

at school, including bullying, can be damaging to a child's sense of security and interpersonal

trust. Unlike adults, children have little recourse to try to stop a bully from harassing them. They

may find themselves shunned by other children and too ashamed to admit their fears to adults.

Some victims feel compelled to fight off bullies, while others avoid unsafe turf at school and in

their communities. Others have more dramatic responses, such as becoming run-aways or

attempting suicide. Still others have taken the legal route; filing lawsuits against school districts

and administrators, charging they were denied the right to attend safe campuses.

Prompted by reports of lawsuits and student suicides resulting from merciless bullying

incidents, a dozen internationally renowned authorities from the fields of psychology, education,

law enforcement and public relations gathered at Harvard University in 1987 to develop

strategies to respond to the increasingly serious problem of schoolyard bullying. The National

School Safety Center (NSSC) sponsored the unprecedented "Schoolyard Bully Practicum"

which initiated a broad-based public awareness campaign.

The experts at the NSSC Practicum agreed that for the nation's bully problem to be

successfully addressed, educators, parents and the public must acknowledge the following


School bullying is a significant problem.

Fear and suffering are becoming part of the everyday lives of bullying victims.

Young bullies whose behavior goes unchecked are more likely than other children to grow

up and suffer from personal, professional and legal problems.

The attitude that bullying is no more than normal youthful aggressive behavior must be


The United States should promote national intervention and prevention programs similar to

those operating successfully in Scandinavia and Japan.

Practicum participants also outlined their primary prevention and intervention strategies, which

could be pursued by school psychologists:

Accurately assess the scope of the problem.

Communicate clear behavior standards and then consistently enforcing them.

Monitor playground activity closely with a supervising adult visible at all times.

Teach proper conflict resolution and watching for victim symptoms, such as withdrawal,

decline in study habits or grades, unexplained anxiety, and cuts, bruises or torn clothing.

Create a norm in the school that discourages bullying. Most youths are bystanders. They

observe the bullying and don’t feel empowered to do anything about it. All students,

teachers, administrators and staff members need to develop the norm that says chronic

intimidation will not occur on their campuses.

The needs assessment allows for locally-based prevention and intervention programs to

be created, and provides an opportunity for local school administrators and teachers to buy into

plans to make school safety a priority. Safety plan actions could include establishing a parent

center that encourages proactive parent participation, ensuring active student input and

participation in the planning process, enhancing extracurricular student programs, integrating

school safety plans into the school curricula, supporting staff development, making behavior

guidelines for students clear, establishing a crisis response plan, paying special attention to the

needs of school violence victims, and creating partnerships among youth service professionals

to coordinate violence prevention efforts.

In the report "School Violence: A Multicomponent Reduction Strategy," UCSB’s Dr.

Furlong states that everyone on the schoolyard must be managed within a framework of a

school safety plan. In addition, he says, it is necessary to examine how the school context itself

may contribute to the occurrence of violence. Dr. Furlong suggests programs that focus on the

impact of zero tolerance for violent behavior, as well as studies on the root causes, are needed.

Early identification and intervention of aggressive children is necessary. Then specific

interventions that focus on study skills development, social skills development, increasing

awareness of health risks associated with aggressive behaviors and the teaching of coping

strategies to prevent future substance abuse may be established. Social skills training and

positive reinforcement should be combined and implemented on a case-by-case basis to

produce beneficial behavioral changes. Classroom management strategies, instructional

techniques, and playground management considerations to modify students' behavior may also

be used.

After just two and one-half years of operation, a program established by Dr. Olweus

slashed bully-victim problems in Norway by as much as 50 percent. The program also reduced

other antisocial behavior, including theft, vandalism, fighting and truancy, improved students'

attitude toward schoolwork and resulted in fewer new victims.

Like the suggested programs noted above, the Norway program was based on an

acknowledgment by school officials that bullying and victimization is a problem and that adults

must become part of the answer. Dr. Olweus' program begins with an anonymous student

survey to establish how widespread the problem is in the school. Results from the student

survey are presented to all school staff to apprise them of the situation and of the steps that will

be taken. The resulting program should involve all teachers, lunch workers, janitorial staff and

administrative staff. Among the action items to take is to increase the supervision of nonclassroom

areas, elicit student help in the development of firm rules against bullying, a listing of

disciplinary actions that are to be taken against bullies, and teacher and peer support of victims.

At the individual level, adults are to have serious, one-on-one discussions with the aggressors,

the victims and the parents of these children.

This program was recently adapted for rural middle schools in South Carolina, where a

survey of 6,500 middle school students revealed that one in four children reported that they had

been bullied at least "several times" in a three-month period. And, about one in five children

admitted to bullying other children within a three-month period.

The South Carolina program immediately increased sensitivity toward bullying problems

among children, teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, parents and neighbors. As

recommended by Dr. Olweus, strict rules and consistent sanctions against bullies were

established. But the South Carolina program went further by forming friendship groups for

children who were regularly bullied by their peers, holding regular class meetings to discuss

bullying among students, and the development of a video and teachers' guide which provides

ideas for discussions, artwork, role-playing and writing activities.

Other programs focus on prevention. A 1996 University of Michigan study by sociologist

Ron Astor, concluded that high schools that resort to metal detectors, video cameras and

security guards to combat school violence might be better served by asking teachers to

supervise known trouble spots. Astor surveyed five Midwestern high schools and found that

incidents often occurred in locations where few adults were visible. By far, the most effective

violence intervention described by students, teachers and administrators who participated in the

survey was the physical presence of teachers willing to intervene, coupled with clear, consistent

administrative policies on school violence.

Recent legislation may also result in a reduction of schoolyard bullying. During the last

three years, several states have passed laws lowering the age in which young people may be

tried in court as adults. In addition, several states now fine parents for the criminal behavior of

their children. Whether these new laws will result in schoolyard assaults being treated as actual

crimes remains to be seen. However, it signals that parents should be closely involved with

schools in working out appropriate restitution strategies. The support of the court may also

become more important when resolving schoolyard conflicts. The presiding juvenile court judge

can be particularly helpful in ensuring that bullies and their parents receive the training, skills

and the support they need to create a more positive environment in the life of the child.

Many incidents of bullying go unreported because of victims' fear of retaliation or

intimidation. Combating this problem takes the support of the entire school supervision team,

including administrators, psychologists, counselors, teachers and other staff members and

community volunteers who are willing to work with the bullies and their victims. The success of

these programs, and the success of our children in schools, rests with adults who are ultimately

willing to attack the schoolyard bullying problem head on; and to involve, rather than absolve

themselves of responsibility for the welfare and safety of school children.

California Association of School Psychologists, 1996


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U.S.A. Publishing, New York, N.Y.

Furlong, Michael, et al., “School Violence: A Multicomponent Reduction Strategy,” (report),

January 21, 1996, University of California, Santa Barbara, Graduate School of Education, Santa

Barbara, CA

Olweus, Dan, “Bullying: too little love, too much freedom, School Safety Update, May, 1994,

National School Safety Center News Service, Pepperdine University, Westlake Village, CA.

Hodges, Ernest V.E., Perry, David G., “Victimization is never just child’s play,” School Safety

Update, Fall 1996, National School Safety Center News Service, Pepperdine University,

Westlake Village, CA.

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