It’s Bullying Prevention Month, meaning educators, administrators, and students across the country are raising awareness of bullying prevention. In this post, we’ll take a look at what bullying has to do with diversity, equity, and inclusion and suggest ways you can align your anti-bullying and anti-bias programming.
There’s a perception that bullying is simply a “rite of passage” for students and that it’s different from acts of bias or discrimination because it impacts students regardless of their identities.
In reality, bullying has serious consequences for students, including:
And research shows that 75% of bullying incidents have biases at their core. In other words, students from underrepresented groups are at higher risk of being bullied. The reasons for being bullied that students report most often? Their physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, and sexual orientation.
Why are bullying and bias linked? Students are keenly aware of behavior that doesn’t fit neatly into the category of what’s considered “normal” or familiar. A student who challenges those norms and expectations can instantly become a target for bullying.
For instance, a 2012 study found that female students who received special education services were 4.8 times more likely to be victims of bullying than their peers without disabilities.
Similarly, surveys from 2018 and 2019 show that while about 20% of high school students report being bullied, that number rises to 70% among LGBTQ+ students. And 15% of students report being cyberbullied compared to 49% of LGBTQ+ students.
Research shows that more diverse and inclusive classrooms see less bullying among all students. Here are five guidelines for preventing bullying through inclusion:
By taking these steps, you’ll align your school’s goals of bias and bullying prevention--and create an inclusive school environment where it’s harder for bullying to occur.