It was given out to three year 9 classes and 3 year 10 classes. Results were then tallied up and presented in document that has been given out to staff, available to parents through the school library and also available to students through the library as well. I was skeptical about the report on first look, but now that I have looked over it and started to look at some of the comments from the students it is quite interesting.
In order to reduce bullying it is important to know the extent and severity of the problem, One way to do this is through a survey of those most likely to be victims of bullying at secondary school - Year 9 and 10 students.
Is the school a place that you like to come to and enjoy yourself when you are here?
There is a significant number of students happy and enjoying themselves at secondary school. It is to be expected that the largest number of responses is in the 'sometimes' category. Students like staff, have their good days and bad days and the challenge is to increase the number of 'Always' students.
Have you ever been bullied at school?
At the school, we have a 'zero tolerance' to bullying, the results do show that a 1/3 of students have had some form of bullying during there time at secondary school. This is a disappointing result as any bullying is unacceptable. A positive picture could be painted by the figure of 2/3 of students who said they have never been bullied at our school. However 1/3 of students in years 9 and 10 who completed the survey have experienced some form of school bullying at secondary school.
What kind of bullying have you experienced at secondary school?
Verbal bullying is the most significant for both years 9 and 10 with this type of bullying forming the top five responses. With the advent of new technology it is interesting to see that text bullying is happening through nasty/threatening texts. Others that are a cause for concern are year 9 students are forced to do something as well as asked to give up money or goods. these could also be happening from older students and that the year 9 are new to secondary school and that older students may see them as easy targets.
Where did the bullying happen?
Most responses detailed that the bullying was happening 'in class'. This is a concern as this is a place where there is a teacher supervising and so students should be 'safe'. There is also a significant amount of bullying between classes/outside classrooms and in the playground. this is when the bullying will often happen as it is often 'lost' or 'disguised' with the number and rapid movement of so many students.
Who did you tell that you are being bullied?
The responses made to this question are similar to published research. Students are often unwilling to report bullying - the second highest response, and they will often confide in a friend for support and advice about the problem. Speaking to a teacher is often very difficult for teenagers and so they will also try to minimize the issue by downplaying it.
It is surprising that no student indicated that they had spoken to a student leader. These year 13 students are closer to their age that a teacher, visible around the school and would be considered by many junior students as 'sympathetic' towards someone being bullied.
My own comment on this: at intervals and lunchtimes the year 13 students are often off site down at the dairy or away getting some food as the canteen does not supply the food that they want. Many of these students walk out the gate at the beginning of lunch and make there way back before the school bell rings at the end of lunch. I think that the school needs to look at this. Also many students who have study often leave the school grounds as well. When are the year student leaders actually at the school for juniors to talk to them?
If you have been bullied and you told someone? What did they do and was it helpful?
The support received by a bullying victim is very important and the responses show that while many feel alone and overwhelmed by the bully, they have some empathetic support. Often the right message is being given - tell a teacher, or dean, but often the victim is reluctant to do this.
If you have been bullied and you told someone, what would you have liked them to have done differently?
The idea of support is seen again with some wanting the bully to be 'warned off' or 'talked to'. They needed the help of others to challenge the bully to make them stop. The feeling of the victim 'being alone' to face the bully is strong along with the idea of payback with 'punishing', 'suspending' and hurting the bully for what they have done.
Have you ever been away from school because of bullying?
Some explainations were given for this;
[They] are still bullying us and could still be angry.
Because no one in my class would talk to me or be my freind or sit with me.
Because I got mocked nearly all the time.
I said I was sick and didn't want to face her.
The might smash me after school while I'm walking home.
Because I was sick of the talk and the mocking.
I didn't want to get hurt.
I didn't want to get bullied anymore.
I was getting fed up with the situation and I had family problems to deal with.
Because I didn't want to face the people that were bullying me.
I though that it would stop the bullying.
The explanations are very telling and it is easy to see the pain and sadness these students felt.