Bullying is primarily based on intimidation and fear. The victim is physically assaulted or psychologically tortured to bring him or her to submission. In most of the cases, bullying involves verbal intimidation, physical assault and psychological torture. Victims of bullying are usually physically weak, socially disadvantaged, or both.
We will write a custom Report on The Problem of Bullying specifically for you
301 certified writers online
Since bullying takes various forms, it is not well defined by most laws (Ericson, 2001). However, it is obvious that most elements of bullying are criminalized in the United States. A person who is considered different among peers is likely to be a subject of bullying.
While bullying is common among small children and teenagers, it is also found at the workplace. Supervisors and colleagues at the workplace may bully subordinates and other people who are not necessarily junior to them (Zapf & Einarsen, 2001). For verbal, physical, or psychological abuse to qualify as bullying, it has to occur repeatedly (Rosenthal, 2008).
The term bullying has is origin in Europe in the sixteenth century. It was associated with lovers, and particularly people who attempted to overprotect a target of their admiration. The first use of the term “bully” with its modern meaning was in the eighteenth century (Rosenthal, 2008). Since then, this term has been associated with repeated harassment or attack of a weaker person. When bullying continues into adulthood, the perpetrator is likely to be involved in crime.
Most people who are bullies in their teenage years become criminals as adults, and are likely to be charged with assault and harassment in many cases. Childhood bullies may also propagate the vice as adults in their workplaces (Ericson, 2001). Some people use modern channels such as the internet to harass others by disseminating false or embarrassing information about their bullying victims. This is known as cyber bullying (Kowalski & Limber, 2012).
In California the senate has severally passed laws to deter bullying. Some of the bills passed recently in 2011 require all school administrations to deter bullying by developing and enforcing policies that protect schoolchildren from bullying. These laws were as a result of a suicide by a teenager known as Seth, who was harassed due to his unusual sexual orientation.
Seth’s bullying continued due to the ignorance of his school’s administration and its failure to attend to the claims that the boy was a subject of overt bullying (Storey & Slaby, 2008). Thus, Seth’s laws were designed to compel schools in California to modify their policies to cover gender and sexuality issues. A comprehensive state law on bullying was formulated and passed in 2003. This law covers all forms of bullying including harassment at the work place.
Prior to Seth’s laws there was a vague definition of bullying laws in regard to sexuality. Seth’s case helped lobby for legislation of laws to protect people who could be easily targeted by bullies (Storey & Slaby, 2008). Some states such as New Jersey are set to enact laws that will require schools to profile and report cases of bullying to the authorities (Storey & Slaby, 2008). This will enable the authorities assess the prevalence of bullying incidences within the specific localities of their jurisdiction and react appropriately.
While most states in the United States of America have laws to protect people from bullying, the federal government is yet to enact an anti-bullying law. In 1999 the state of Georgia was the first to pass an anti-bullying law. Since then, many states have followed suit by continuously passing anti-bullying laws (Zapf & Einarsen, 2001).
Although the federal government has never passed any laws specifically designed to counter bullying, some federal laws against harassment automatically criminalize some forms of bullying. Sexual harassment and physical harassment are criminal offenses in the United States according to the federal law.
However, these laws may not cover cases of bullying among minors in schools. The reluctance of the federal government to enact such a law is because the particular legislation may be counterproductive. It is also possible for the enacted laws to contradict other regulations regarding the conduct of minors within learning institutions (Zapf & Einarsen, 2001).
While the legislature has made effort to pass laws against bullying in most states in the United States of America, the United Kingdom’s laws do not explicitly define bullying (School Amendment Act, 2011). In addition, there is no specific law intended to deter bullying as a defined offense. However, there are many laws that protect citizens from elements of bullying (Kowalski & Limber, 2012). Some of the laws are universal, and are found in many countries around the world.
Although the legislature in Britain has not passed anti-bullying laws, there are other institutions that have set regulations in order to minimize or eliminate bullying (School Amendment Act, 2011). This indicates that the United States of America is quite ahead of many other countries in enacting laws to protect children and adult citizens from any kind of harassment.
Most societies consider bullying a usual occurrence among minors. Bullying is treated as a case of child delinquency or general indiscipline. While it is unacceptable to many parents, most guardians are lenient towards children who are bullies (Rosenthal, 2008). On the other hand, victims of bullying hardly report the problem to anyone. Although bullying is not considered a major social problem, it can be destructive to people, especially those people with special needs.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
Furthermore, bullying metamorphoses into a tendency to commit crimes in later stages of life, particularly for those children who are not deterred from engaging in it (Rosenthal, 2008). With the awareness campaigns that are going on in the United States and other countries, the society is finally realizing that bullying is a serious problem and responding to it appropriately.
Bullying has always been there throughout history of humankind. It may not be possible to completely eliminate bullying especially among siblings who have to live together and share many things. However, bullying in schools and workplaces can be eliminated by civil education and enactment of laws to discourage perpetration of the vice.
One unique aspect of bullying is that it does not arise from the common imbalances in the society. Bullying is caused by stigmatization of certain groups of people, often based on their natural characteristics. Characteristics such as sexuality, race, size, and mental ability are some of the things that lead to cases of bullying. Only education can change the perspective of people towards bullying. Legislation of laws to deter people from bullying others may not prevent them from doing so.
Harassment can be so discreet that it is impossible for any law to define it. When certain people are stereotyped and avoided, it is impossible to accuse the bully of any wrongdoing. However, the bully is in a position to hurt his or her victim through such actions. This kind of harassment can only be stopped by education of the people to eliminate stereotypes in the society.
Ericson, N. (2001). Addressing the Problem of Juvenile Bullying. U.S. Department of Justice, 6(27), 5-7.
Kowalski, R. M., & Limber, S. (2012).Cyberbullying bullying in the digital age. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.
Rosenthal, B. (2008). Bullying. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.
School Amendment Act, S. A. (2011, January 4). United Kingdom aAnti Bullying Laws. BullyPolice.org. Web.
Storey, K., & Slaby, T. (2008). Eyes on Bullying . What Can You Do?. IBM Global, 5(5), 5-14.
Zapf, D., & Einarsen, S. (2001). Bullying in the workplace. Hove, East Sussex, UK: Psychology Press.