ERG SES E 05, Education Challenges
Schools across Europe reveal varying degrees of success combatting bullying, with clear signs where anti-bullying programs work and where they do not. Finland’s KiVa anti-bullying program has been so successful, schools from other countries are vying for their program, as compared to the United Kingdom with the worst bullying record in secondary school, according to a British Council survey.
Although education policies focusing on reducing inequalities meant to address victimization in schools throughout Europe is a priority, many young people continue to be bullied, regardless of the intentions of respective anti-bullying policies. Schools specifically recognize discriminatory bullying as having a negative impact upon pupils, such as decreased academic success and losing confidence. Nevertheless, little is known about specific nuances of bullying such as intersectional bullying and is under-researched.
The aim of this study was, therefore, to investigate the impact of intersectional bullying at school upon students of certain socially constructed statuses, specifically lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) youth.
Intersectional bullying may be generally defined as being victimized for several socially constructed statuses. For example, a child being homophobically bullied may also be bullied for their race. Intersectional bullying, therefore, can be considered layers of victimization. I add that a sequence or layering of events within bullying paradigms as another form of intersectional bullying. Intersectional bullying may not only occur because of the construction of social identities as classifications, but also because of the construction of power paradigms creating the incidents that support the classifications. This project therefore, provided an important opportunity to advance the understanding of what should be included in the conversation around intersectional bullying.
School bullying is framed as victim and perpetrator and institutions remain blame-free ignoring inadequate procedures that may perpetuate the problem.
Drawing on youth group based research from in-depth, semi-structured interviews I conducted with LGBT adolescents who attended a youth group as part of a youth organization in a medium sized English city, I argue that intersectional bullying remains largely unidentified, and requires examination.
The young people were asked to discuss their experiences with bullying in school during which intersectional bullying revealed. This type of bullying seemed to come from multiple sources within a sequence of events defining a particular experience, rather than a one-off bullying incident. For example, an incident began with one child homophobically bullying another; the teacher intervenes moving the bullied child away from the perpetrator. The victimized child was uprooted and moved, which further disrupted the class with all eyes on him, further isolating him, rather than the perpetrator who suffered no immediate consequences. All emphasis was on the boy being bullied, thereby punishing him via indirect victimization through the institutional measures utilized by the teacher. The teacher only acknowledged the bullying as a general incident rather than specifically addressing it as homophobic. The teacher’s reaction sent a message that the bullied boy was the challenge. Intervention became part of the problem creating a multi-layered effect of intersectional bullying. This established power paradigms supporting the bully, the institution and the bullying itself as it was only insignificantly addressed, perpetuating the victimized child as the problem.
I argue that recognizing education through a lens of inclusion begins to realize most educational systems are poorly equipped to handle diversity. A system that is underpinned by the child as the problem rather than the education system itself accentuates the need to extrapolate the definitions of bullying to include intersectional bullying and requires interrogation of the policies that are meant to protect.
Footnotes:  KiVa coming from the Finnish words ‘kiusaamista vastaan’ which literally mean ‘against bullying’ http://www.kivaprogram.net/program  http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmeduski/85/85.pdf  Intersectionality, first coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw in 1989 is a theory addressing the intersections of identities and oppressions Bibliography: Berger, C.; Karimpour, R.; Rodkin, P.C. Bullies and Victims at School: Perspectives and Strategies from Primary Prevention. In: Miller, T. W. School violence and primary prevention. (2008) New York: Springer, Chapter 15, 295-322 DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-77119-9_15 Birkett, M.; Espelage, D.L.; Koenig, B. LGB and Questioning Students in Schools: The Moderating Effects of Homophobic Bullying and School Climate on Negative Outcomes. Youth Adolescents (2009) 38:989-1000. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-008-9389-1 Buston, K.; Hart, G. Heterosexism and homophobia in Scottish school sex education: exploring the nature of the problem. Journal of Adolescents 2001, 24, 95-109 DOI: 10.1006/jado.2000.0366 Daley, A; Solomon, S; Newman, P.A.; Mishna, F. Traversing the Margins: Intersectionalities in the Bullying of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth. Journal of Gay & Lesbian Social Services, (2008) 19:3-4, 9-29. DOI:10.1080/10538720802161474 To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10538720802161474 Elamé, E (2013) Discriminatory Bullying; a new intercultural challenge. Springer: Milan, Heidelberg, New York, Dordrecht, London. ISBN 978-88-470-5234-5, DOI: 10.1007/978-88-470-5235-2 Epstein, D.; Johnson, R. (1998) Schooling Sexualities .Open University Press: Buckingham, Philadelphia Garnett B, R; Masyn, K.E.; Austin, S.B.; Miller, M.; Williams, D.R.; Viswanath, K. The Intersectionality of Discrimination Attributes and Bullying Among Youth: An Applied Latent Class Analysis. Youth Adolescents (2014) 43:1225 – 1239. DOI: 10.1007/s10964-013-0073-8 McEvoy, A; Welker, R. Antisocial Behavior, Academic Failure, and School Climate; A Critical Review. Journal of Emotional and behavioural Disorders, Fall 2000 vol. 8 no. 3 130-140. DOI: 10.1177/106342660000800301 Richard, J.F.; Schneider, B.H.; Mallet, P. Revisiting the whole-school approach to bullying: Really looking at the whole school. School Psychology International June 2012 vol. 33 no. 3, 263-284. Rothan, C.; Head, J.; Kineberg, E.; Stansfeld, S. Can social support protect bullied adolescents from adverse outcomes? A prospective study on the effects of bullying on the educational achievement and mental health of adolescents at secondary schools in East London. Journal of Adolescence Volume 34, Issue 3, June 2011, pages 579-588 DOI:10.1016/j.adolescence.2010.02.007
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