Stunning new research from Dr. Andrew Adesman, chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Steven & Alexandra Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, notes that more than 200,000 victims of bullying brought guns, knives, or clubs into U.S. schools during a recent month. These students were eight times more likely to bring a weapon to school after they had themselves been threatened or injured by a weapon.
The study shows that these victims have endured four types of “aggressive clashes at school:”
- Being verbally tormented
- Experiencing a physical assault
- Having personal property stolen or damaged
- Cutting school as a result of safety concerns
In those cases, students “are nearly 49 times more likely to have recently carried a weapon to school and 34 times more likely to have carried a gun within the past 30 days.”
Such research is confirmed by cases like the 9-year-old student in Manassas, Virginia who recently brought a gun to his elementary school. His grandmother noted that a classmate “had been kicking him, hitting him, pushing him, taking his book bag. After he ignored him for moments, the little boy told him that he was gong to kill him, so I’m thinking that he acted out of fear and he was very afraid.”
Researchers and advocates alike note the importance of programs that mobilize bystanders to address bullying. Accordingly, Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities programs build knowledge, motivation, and skills for students to be able to effectively intervene in bullying situations, becoming “upstanders” who can make a difference in their schools and communities.