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Bullying of Children with Disabilities - Part XI

Posted Jun 05 2012 4:01pm
SWINDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23:   A reporter s...SWINDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 23: A reporter stands outside office of The National Bullying Helpline on February 23, 2010 in Swindon, England. Founder of the National Bullying Helpline Christine Pratt is coming under increasing pressure after revealing that some Downing Street staff have contacted the helpline. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has been accused of bullying tactics in a new book serialised in newspapers last weekend. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife )
 
Bullying remains the hottest of hot button issues in special education law. 
  In the first installment of this series, I explained the early cases laying the conceptual groundwork for the proposition that failure to react to bullying can constitute a denial of FAPE under IDEA.  In later installments, I have discussed the seminal decision of TK & SK ex rel LK v. New York City Dept of Educ 779 F.Supp.2d 289, 56 IDELR 228 (E.D.N.Y. 4/25/2011).  This case is important not just because it analyzes special education law principles involving bullying, but also because it provides a thorough review of the social science literature on bullying. You should read this case and you can do so here .     Here is more from the court...these are not my words:  

2. Bully

Not surprisingly, a bully is likely to have an aggressive attitude. Olweus, supra, at 34. He will probably have a positive attitude toward violence and a strong self-image. Id. Typically, he will be of average popularity and often will be surrounded by a small group of friends who support him. Id. at 35. "The bullies don't do well later on." Macklem, supra, at 42. Despite his center position in the school social hierarchy, the impact of being the bully will leave a lasting adverse mark. Perpetrators of bullying report being sad most days, and have somewhat the same depressive symptoms as victims. Glew, supra, at 1030 ("Students who felt unsafe and sad most days had 2.5 and 1.5 times the odds of being a bully ..."). Bullies themselves typically have more health problems and a poorer emotional adjustment than students not involved in bullying. Nansel, supra, at 733-34; Macklem, supra, at 43; Glew, supra, at 1031. Females who bully are more likely to have hostile inter-personal interactions in their adulthood. Macklem, supra, at 43. They also may have more trouble adjusting to the role of parent than students who were not bullies. Id. Bullying behavior may simply be the beginning of an antisocial behavioral pattern that will endure during the tormentor's entire life. Id. at 42. Those students who start bullying early on in their academic lives are more likely to assault or sexually harass their classmates in high school. Id. As young people continue to grow up, bullying may be a precursor to violence in dating. Id. at 43. "Bullies and bully-victims [but not victims] consistently reported significantly more frequent alcohol use." Nansel, supra, at 734; Olweus, supra, at 35-36
[ 779 F.Supp.2d 306 ]
("Bullying can also be viewed as a component of a more generally antisocial and rule-breaking (conduct disordered') behavior pattern. From this perspective, it is natural to predict that youngsters who are aggressive and bully others, run a clearly increased risk of later engaging in other problem behaviors such as criminality and alcohol abuse. A number of recent studies confirm their general prediction.") Additionally, bullies are more likely than non-bullies to commit a felony in the future. Olweus, supra, at 36; Macklem, supra, at 44 (finding in one longitudinal study that "[b]ullying was clearly a precursor to later violent behavior for this group, although, of course, not all bullies would persist along this pathway toward violence"). In one study, 60 percent of boys identified as bullies in grades six to nine had at least one conviction by age 24, and 35 to 40 percent of them had three or more convictions. Olweus, supra, at 36. This is a four-fold increase in the level of criminality over that of non-bullies. Victims had an average or below-average chance of engaging in future criminality. Id.
"Chronic bullying has a cost for society as well as for the individual and, of course, the victim." Macklem, supra, at 43. The children who they harass are left to try to move on after years of uncontroverted harassment. The bullies themselves, through their own actions, are then more likely to require social services, educational services, and criminal justice services. Id.
 
 
 
 
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