School Bus Bullying: What It Is And Why Bullies Pick The Bus
published on February 06, 2015 by Lisa London
The definition of a bully is a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker. A bully is also someone who uses superior strength or influence to intimate someone, typically to force him or her to do what one wants. Bullying includes not only physical aggression such as hitting or stealing, but also verbal aggression, such as threatening, name calling, spreading rumors, socially rejecting and isolating someone, or cyberbullying (where bullies are able to hide behind the anonymity of the internet).
Bullying can take place during or after school hours. Most reported bullying incidents happen within the school building, but a significant amount of incidents also take place on the playground or on the bus. According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2006-2007, one-third of U.S. students ages 12 through 18 reported being bullied. Of those, 8 percent said they were bullied on the school bus.
The bus is an ideal location for bullying since there is limited adult supervision and the bus creates a more confined environment. Typically the bus driver is the only adult on the bus and it is hard for them to respond to every incident while also focusing on operating the vehicle. A driver’s primary responsibility and concern is to get students from their home to school, then from school to home safely. Any distractions or incidents that could cause a driver to take their eyes off of the road for even a second could affect all students being transported on the bus. This could result in an accident that could injure students, other vehicles and even pedestrians.
The bus is also a small, closed space and since students are in close proximity of each other, victims of bullying have no place to retreat from being bullied. They are succumbed to being victimized and tormented the entire time they are riding the bus. They are trapped and overwhelmed and have no place to go. Imagine going through the vicious cycle of getting on the bus daily and being mentally and/or physically abused by a bully daily. The effects can damage a child’s confidence and overall self-esteem. It can also affect their school attendance and overall educational performance.
It is estimated that nearly 1 in 5 students is subjected to school bus bullying. Everyone needs to be aware of bullying on the bus and do their part to react, ease tensions and help to eliminate the problems.