Injury and violence prevention is an area of concern for community and public health nurses. Bullying is a behavior that is prevalent in schools. Bullying has no boundaries and can occur to any person across the globe. Bullying can prevent a student from having a healthy life and healthy social relationship if intervention is not given at the appropriate time. Children need to feel safe when studying so that they maximize learning. The aim of preventing injury and violence from bullying is to enable the student to have a healthy social and physical life that will enable them to perform well in their studies and live healthily. Prevention helps reduce bullying amongst adolescents. Different communities have different approaches to prevent and intervene in the case of bullying. The Walpole Public Schools is a community that recognizes that bullying can occur in schools and has developed a plan for prevention and intervention. Students studying in the Walpole Public Schools need to feel safe so that they can be able to perform well in school. Physical and psychological healths are important and the Walpole Public Schools ensure that students are healthy. Walpole Public Schools involves the leadership, teachers, staff, administration, parents, and the students in the plan. The plan involves leadership, training, resources, activities, policies and rules, community, and the administration in bullying prevention and intervention. The rules restrict bullying behavior in school. This research paper will review the literature on bullying injury and violence prevention and discuss community intervention plans while assessing the agency. It will also recommend nursing interventions.
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Injury and Violence Prevention
Bullying occurs when an individual exercises power over another by causing mental or physical harm to the other with an aim of gaining control over them, as Rice (2008, p. 350) reveals. The aggressive behavior, which is repeated many times, is harmful and the aggressor has power over the victim. Bullying occurs at school when children are in their adolescent stage. Obadina (2009, p.194) states that bullied children are defenseless because they are fewer than the bullies, are disabled, and lack the strength to protect themselves. Bullies engage in the behavior to mask their fear which is a result of insecurities and lack of contentment. Aggressive behaviors come about as a means of settling disputes among adolescent peers.
Children who are victimized become anxious, depressed, and have low self-esteem. Others have physical injuries and demonstrate psychological problems. Moreover, bullied children have difficulties fitting in society and managing their emotions. They result in isolation which makes the situation complicated. As a result, the victim loses social skills to make social relationships. The bullied child may have depression, persistent headaches, amnesia, and stomachaches (Voogd 2011, p. 474).
Bullying can be emotional where name-calling, isolation, and threats are exercised. One can be bitten, kicked, hit, and pushed. Bullying can be racial where the victim is called names and show gestures. Offensive sexual remarks and unnecessary sexual attention can be a form of bullying. Insulting sexual emails, messages, and calls are forms of cyberbullying. Bullies can spread rumors, call the victims names, tease them, and scoff at them (Obadina 2009, p.194).
Baumann et al (201, p. 41) indicate that bullying can cause psychological harm to school-going children. An ostracized child may end up with psychological problems which affect their ability to interact and learn with others freely. This challenge is overcome if the school nurses work hand in hand with teachers and parents to assist them in finding cases of bullying.
Children who have been bullied are afraid of being alone and may change their means of going to school. They may also fail to participate in social events, harm themselves, attempt to commit suicide, lose confidence, have unexplained injuries, and withdraw from eating (Thomas 2006, p. 1015).
Boys are prone to engage in bullying. The adolescent may engage in shoving, kicking, and hitting. Girls push, slap, and call names less frequently than boys. Homosexuality among boys is likely to be higher among boys than girls. Some of the males who are bullied into homosexual acts end up being gay. Male teens have participated in the shooting. The shooting may occur as a result of wanting to get revenge (Rice 2008, p. 352).
McGuiness (2007, p. 22) says that bullying can occur to any person across the globe. Efforts to prevent bullying are done by incorporating intervention programs for the victims in schools. The parents and teachers are taught about the different forms of bullying, how to recognize them, and to prevent them. They can utilize the conflict resolution courses that are offered to school children. School-going children need to have a healthy environment for learning.
Research shows that children with low self-esteem who undergo bullying have more challenges adjusting and regaining self-esteem. Depression is likely to occur if the victim has low self-esteem. Furthermore, suicidal thoughts are likely to occur if the victim has low self-esteem, has poor health, and is isolated. Some victims are able to cope and become tough. Bullying makes children with low self-esteem lose confidence since it targets those with low self-esteem.
Bullies have insecurities and aggressiveness. Their social skills are poor and lack empathy. Some are from poor backgrounds, live in neighborhoods with crime, and come from dysfunctional homes. The bullies’ intelligence is average. Bullies can be reformed and become social beings. Henshaw (2011, p. 268) says that respect for other people irrespective of their beliefs will help eliminate bullying.
According to Rice (2008, p. 356), nurses and school administrators should engage in research to investigate the cases of bullying that go unnoticed. Regular assessment of students is important to predict the possibility of any harm that the child may be experiencing. Aggressive behavior, as a means of settling disputes, should be discouraged. When giving assistance, the parents and the community should be involved. The law recognizes bullying of adolescents and cases should be reported. The nurse should follow up with a bullied child to ensure that they complete the recovery process. The community should be informed and educated on bullying.
Teachers should be encouraged to become nontolerant to bullying behaviors. They should make themselves approachable and work for hand in hand with the nurses to assist those who are bullied. Teachers avoid being aggressive when disciplining children. Schools participate in welfare organizations that encourage good behavior and ensure that every child is safe. The victims of bullying are encouraged to gain confidence and are reassured that they did not cause bullying. Bullies are corrected and made to understand that their behavior is unacceptable. Teachers, parents, and members of the community should be role models.
It is the role of the school nurse to assist children in schools who may be in danger. Children need to be healthy and safe at school. Being ostracized, which is a form of bullying, can have an impact on a child (Baumann et al 201, p. 41).
School children need to feel protected and safe when they are learning. Bullying can occur in any school setting. Therefore, it is important to engage in research to understand bullying and take precautions as well as assist the victims.
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Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Centre (MARC) helps schools deal with aggressive culture. The agency based its intervention on research to design its program to assist in changing culture. The intervention is not to be used only when an aggression crisis occurs but continuously. The program raises awareness among the students by providing education and materials on bullying. Teachers and members of staff are trained to recognize and take action against bullying. Parents and the community are given information on how to prevent and lend a hand to victims of bullying. The program involves administration where policies are implemented.
In educating the children, they use different approaches for the students depending on their level. Each group is taught how they can overcome aggressive behaviors. Parents are also involved in school programs. They support their children with their homework. Teachers incorporate educational material in the curriculum and send children home with flyers. Awards and workshops form part of the education programs. The burden of educating students on bullying is shared amongst the educators, parents, teachers, staff, and the community. Moreover, students become facilitators.
MARC also offers support to individual schools with unique bullying needs. It integrates with existing programs to enhance prevention and propose assistance on a particular issue. The school chooses some or all necessary programs that are required. MARC participates in ongoing programs in schools to facilitate and to help achieve the best results in dealing with bullying in schools (Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Centre, 2011).
Walpole Public Schools is another agency that involves the public when developing strategies to deal with bullying in schools. Their plan prevents and intervenes in bullying in public schools. When implementing the plan, they assess its successes and failure to make appropriate changes. The plan utilizes the position of leadership to implement policies. The administration is involved in developing policies and implementation. Students are taught to be respectful and accommodate diversity. The staffs have annual training. Materials on bullying are developed by different stakeholders to prevent and mediate. Counseling services are available to students. Students with disabilities are also assisted to have normal social development. Depending on the nature of bullying, the agency has referral facilities to assist students in need.
There are academic and nonacademic resources for students. At all levels, the students are taught to recognize and prevent bullying. They are also taught what to do when it happens to them or others. The staff, school counselors, and teachers participate in the prevention and intervention processes. Students are taught important social skills to help them live with others in a safe environment.
The policies and procedures used when incidents of bullying occur are taught to the students. Reports can be made by the students, parents, staff, or any other member of the community. Reports can also be mailed or emailed. The incident forms are available at school and district offices. Information on reporting incidents is available in the student’s handbook which is available. After reporting, investigations are conducted and disciplinary actions are taken. The parents are involved in the prevention and intervention plans. New students and their parents are given adequate information on bullying policies of the particular school and the district (Walpole Public Schools 2010). The agencies develop curricula with an aim of minimizing bullying and assisting those who have undergone it. They involve parents, the staff, and the community members.
The community has been effective in dealing with cases that are reported. Bullied students are slow to report when it happens. Some are threatened to get hurt when they report and this makes the child withhold the information and suffer silently. Parents who monitor the progress and interact with their children have the advantage of knowing when the child changes behavior after being bullied. Some children report to counselors or nurses to get help. Others tell their friends or close family members. Actions taken to assist the bullied child include treatment of injuries and counseling. The bullied feels secure when the nurse gives evidence when they are injured. The victim gets assurance and is encouraged to gain confidence. Action against the bully is taken after investigation.
The government recognizes the role of nurses in the community. They can work hand in hand with the administration, teachers, staff, and the parents to monitor the well-being of students when they are in school. Since they play a significant role in helping students live healthily, they should be allowed to be participants in policy making process in schools.
The agencies have policies that confine bullying behavior among school-going children. They ensure that the students are aware of bullying and can identify and avoid being part of it. They also emphasize those students to learn where they can get help. The school nurse is one of the people who can offer assistance. The support of the agency is continuous and new members who join schools are made aware of the bullying as well as the agencies (Lamb 2010, p. 200).
In line with Hendershot et al (2006, p. 234), a community health nurse plays a significant role in schools. Nurses can identify students who have been bullied. Those who have been physically hurt can be given treatment and counseling can be given to the victims. Helmer (2007, p. 55) notes that nurses are concerned with bullying in schools because they are responsible for the well-being and health of the students. Students presenting stomachaches and headaches could be bullied. They should work closely with the school administration teachers and parents to notify them when a child needs help.
Nurses can give help by assisting the youth to develop relationship skills as Redland (2010, p. 115) suggests. Developing relationships will encourage healthy behaviors. Jacobson et al (2011, p.157) argue that the nurse can make students feel safe by holding discussions with them in a classroom. They can also make the students feel safe by assuring them that someone is there for them. Students should be made aware that there is someone who is willing to listen and to take action against unacceptable behavior like bullying. They can discourage children from going where they feel unsafe. They can also notify the authority of the areas that the students feel unsafe so that they make safe places for children to play and interact.
The nurse works hand in hand with the administration, staff, parents and community to ensure that the child safety is guaranteed. Health and a complimentary environment for learning are also essential. Incorporating the parents and the community in the intervention program increases the child’s self-esteem (Kvarme 2008, p. 346).
According to Weston (2010, p.173), nurses who offer counseling should be aware that students with minor ailments may want to confide in them. They should be good listeners, assure them of safety and thank them for reporting the incident. Help can be given while involving the parents and other stakeholders.
Summary and Conclusions
Bullying happens when one controls the other by exercising power over them causing physical or mental harm. Bullying occurs in schools especially among adolescents. A large number of boys are involved in aggressive forms of bullying than girls. Bullying can be in form of hitting, kicking, slapping, pushing, name calling and threatening, among others. Bullied children often have low self-esteem and lack strength to protect them. Bullied children are in fear, change means to go to school, isolated, fail to participate in events, have unexplained injuries, have stomach aches or headaches, are depressed or anxious and have suicidal tendencies. Some of the bullies come from poor backgrounds and live in areas with prominent crime. They have insecurities, lack empathy, are aggressive and come from dysfunctional families. Bullying interrupts a child’s safety and healthy environment to learn. Intervention programs have been adopted to help victims of bullying. The parents, students, staff, administration and school nurses have a role to play. The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Centre and Wallpole Public Schools are agencies in the community that deal with bullying in schools. They ensure that policies and rules are established and implemented to reduce bullying amongst adolescents. Injuries and violence associated with bullying can be prevented and reduced if the community, students, teachers, parents, administration and the school nurses combine efforts to eliminate bullying in schools. Reports can be made in the agencies where they help the child recover from injuries and follow up on the investigation and take action against offenders. The community, student, parents, and staff are given material and education on bullying to help them identify and prevent bullying. Nurses can intervene by identifying cases of children who might be bullied. They are also approachable and students can confide in them as they get counseling. The school nurse can work with the school and administration to make appropriate policies and assist students. The nurse can encourage students to develop social skills and healthy relationships. The nurse should also give intervention to victims of bullying. They can be encouraged to gain confidence and self-esteem. The victims need to be reassured of safety and have someone they can talk to when they have a need. The victim is reassured that they are not to blame and they are not the cause. Physical health, mental health and a safe environment are essential for a student to be able to perform well. Bullying can be prevented and appropriate intervention be given to the bullied.
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