One in four U.S. children experiences bullying on a regular basis. (BullyingStatistics.org)
Bartolomiej (Bart) Palosz was a part of this statistic. He took his life on the first day of his sophomore year of high school in 2013.
Nearly two years later, his parents have filed a lawsuit against the Greenwich, Connecticut School District and town, claiming that the bullying that led to their son’s death was well-known among teachers and neglected.
For Bart, a Polish immigrant who struggled to assimilate in school, isolation, name-calling, and physical abuse became a routine part of his life.
“In silence, Bart endures verbal attacks from peers who pick on him for his uncommonly tall stature. His Polish accent. His extra weight. The pimples on his face. When they have almost run out of names and insults, his eyes brim with tears, inviting a new round of taunts.” -Brittany Lyte, GreenwichTime.com
While cases such as Bart’s are extreme and uncommon, bullying is almost always detrimental to a child’s well-being.
What School Bullying Looks Like before Seeking Treatment
“Bullying is a form of aggressive behavior in which someone intentionally and repeatedly causes another person injury or discomfort.” (The American Psychological Association)
Statistics suggest that 28 percent of middle school students are the victims of bullying in school, while 20 percent experience bullying in high school.
Students can experience bullying in a variety of ways. 77 percent of school bullying cases are said to be verbal. These cases include both the indirect spreading of rumors about an individual and direct name-calling or teasing.
Less prevalent cases of bullying involve physical abuse, the damaging of an individual’s possessions, or exclusion of that individual from group activities.
Victims of bullying often experience feelings of fear, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or thoughts of suicide.
Reduced self-esteem, especially during crucial points of a child’s development, can hinder their ability to learn and expand personal and social skills.
“160,000 kids stay home from school every day because of fear of bullying.” -BullyingStatistics.org
BullyingStatistics.org notes: “As a result of this fear and anxiety of being bullied, many students will make excuses or find ways around going to school.” In fact, bullying and isolation are among the most common causes of school refusal.
While cases of suicide are extreme in bullying cases, a Yale University study shows that victims of bullying are from 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than other young adults.
Treatment for the Effects of School Bullying in NJ
Statistics show that 85 percent of teachers will not interfere in a bullying scenario. As a result, New Jersey schools adopted strict Harassment, Intimidation, and Bullying (HIB) laws in 2011, which mandate teachers to report such cases. If a parent becomes aware of any instance of school bullying, they should contact their child’s school. Schools may also have mediation, counseling, or other resources available.
While victims of bullying may lack the confidence or security to address bullying at school, therapy within a controlled and safe environment can provide them with an outlet to discuss their problems. School bullying treatment in mental health programs, like those offered at GenPsych, allow children to identify and express emotions associated with bullyings, such as fear, anger, sadness, or shame.
Children who partake in bullying may also benefit from therapy in order to understand and treat the causes of their aggressive behaviors.
GoodTherapy.org states: “Often bullies have unresolved personal wounds that contribute to their bullying behavior and addressing these emotional wounds or identity and social issues with a qualified therapist can be an integral step towards stopping bullying behavior.”
For more information on GenPsych’s Children and Adolescent Programs, click here.