When young people are asked about the source of problems in their schools, they typically answer
with examples of "Bullying."
Children report being nearly or completely isolated (shunned) by their classmates for no apparent
reason. All too often, school administrators and teachers ignore reports of bullying or claim
inability to find a solution. Many parents feel helpless in these situations and don't know where to
turn for help. Persons of all ages who feel depressed, unappreciated and unheard are now the
most likely to erupt in violence when their level of frustration and hopelessness reaches a point
that they no longer know how to control it. They take it out in violence on others or on
Guns and Violence are considered symptoms of these stated root causes.
Frequently "Bullying" is tolerated as "just the way X is" or "just part of growing up"--attitudes of
tolerance and acceptance of behavior and attitudes which occur in the classroom, restroom,
hallway, cafeteria, playground, and school bus.
Bullying also occurs in the workplace, in the home, in organizations (youth and adult), in
fraternities, in public encounters, in the bedroom.
"...the number of high school principals who complained of serious disciplinary problems rose
significantly during the 1990s, even as violent crime on the streets and...schools eased. Most
striking, they are more prevalent in suburban than inner-city schools. (Many of the demoralizing
problems in poor, urban schools are lessening.) "...verbal abuse of teachers declined in the '90s by
about 10% in schools where 75% of students are [low income]. [It used to be that suburban
schools held urban administrators and teachers in low regard. Today suburban districts want to
hire those educators, because they have a track record of dealing with problems that are now
occurring in suburbs.]
"...problems are showing up at younger ages. There has been a 17% increase between 1984 and
1997, of elementary school teachers who say they have students disrupting the class most of the
time or fairly often and a slightly smaller increase among those who find students talking back and
"Sixth-graders used to be benign and afraid of adults....Now you see some of them who are so
defiant, their parents have no idea what to do with them.
"To make matters worse, educators believe they no longer can rely on parents for support....many
parents abet troublemakers. ...administrators...spend more time justifying their disciplinary actions
to suspicious and adversarial parents, many of whom seem to see their role as being their child's
legal advocate, accusing the other kid of being a bad influence or educators of overreacting.
"An increasing number of schools are placing law enforcement officers [in their schools],
searching ...lockers, doing random drug tests and installing cameras and metal detectors.
"Most kids continue to go to school, sit still during class and do their work without threatening
their teachers or classmates....disruptive kids have a way of dominating classrooms....even a few
newcomers...can alter the atmosphere of a school."(1)
1. Kay S. Hymowitz, "Receding School Violence Masks a Darker Reality--Many students from
loving but ineffectual suburban families are restless, chaotic and defiant," The Kansas City Star,
1. Kay S. Hymowitz, "Receding School Violence Masks a Darker Reality--Many students from loving but ineffectual suburban families are restless, chaotic and defiant," The Kansas City Star, 1/2/2000