Bullying in Luzerne County by the Numbers
Bullying is defined as an act of repeated physical or emotional victimization of a person by another person or a group. According to the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the collected statistics prove rather frightening. (There are roughly 49,000 school-age children in Luzerne County, approximate numbers are listed in parenthesis.):
- 10% of children report having been the victims of severe bullying during the school year; (4,900 children)
- 75% report being bullied at least once during the past 10 months; (36,750 children)
- 40-75% of bullying incidents in school take place during class breaks, in the lunchroom, bathroom, or hallways; (19,600 to 36,750 children)
- 30% of children who report having been bullied said they sometimes brought weapons to school; (14,700 children)
According to anti-bullying expert Dr. Joel Haber, as much as 95% of all bullying is perpetrated by those looking to protect or increase their status within a group – often the impetus on which gangs are formed. Bullies maintain what Haber calls their “imbalance of power” by zeroing in on the things that make others different. It may be that the bullied children are overweight or tall or that they wear different clothes, speak with an accent, are a different race or religion, are labeled as LGBT, have an intellectual or development disability, or are especially gifted.
The coalition was formed in Spring of 2012 in response to the national epidemic of bullying in schools, brought to light by severe bullying incidents across the nation and locally by the May 2012 bullying of a Hanover Area High School senior that resulted in a faculty member suspension. The need for this program has been further highlighted by the most recent case of teacher-student bullying at Pittston Area. The Luzerne County Anti Bullying Coalition seeks a collaborative and strategic approach to bullying prevention.
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