Thursday, May 1st, 2014
An Argentine girl has died after an apparent attack by bullies who allegedly inflicted severe violence on the 17-year-old. CNN has more:
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Naira Cofreces died Sunday of multiple injuries, including bruising to the left side of her brain, officials said.
“First there was a verbal altercation and then she was kicked, punched and Naira’s head was smashed against a wall,” Judge Maria Laura Durante told Telam, the Argentine state news agency. The judge also said this is a case of “aggravated homicide because there might’ve been premeditation.”
Officials say the teen was attacked last Wednesday at about 10 p.m., after leaving the night school she attended in the city of Junín, about 260 kilometers (161 miles) west of Buenos Aires. Her attackers, ages 17, 22 and 29, were waiting for her after school. The two younger ones were her classmates. All three have been arrested and charged with aggravated homicide, authorities said.
“There’s no clear motive. We have testimony that suggests the motive could’ve been another girl or because they (the victim and her friends) acted as if they were more beautiful than the rest and dressed better than them,” Durante told Telam.
A close friend of Cofreces told CNN affiliate Channel 9 the dispute started over differences that the victim and her alleged attackers had over looks and demeanor.
“She (one of the attackers) would tell her that she had a snobby face, an old woman’s face, that she thought she was more beautiful than her and that she walked as if she were a model. That’s how the whole problem started,” said the friend, who was not identified because she’s a minor.
Cofreces went home after the attack, but was taken to Agudos General Hospital the following morning. “She came the day after she was beaten up, we did a tomography and discovered a big hematoma on the left side of her brain, so we decided to operate,” Dr. Carlos Garbe told Telam.
A new tomography revealed more bruising of the brain. leading to a second surgery. “After the second surgery, she continued to show complications which worsened until she died,” Garbe said.
Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
Both physical and emotional effects of being bullied–including issues with walking or lifting heavy objects, plus anger, sadness, and fear–may accumulate over a period of years, leading to lower quality of life for people who suffer from bullies’ negative behavior. These are the findings of a new study by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital. Reuters reports:
In the past, when researchers have surveyed students at one point in time, children and teens who were being bullied tended to score lower on measures of physical and mental health.
But few studies have examined whether the possible effects of bullying accumulate over the years, the researchers write in the journal Pediatrics.
They analyzed data from the Healthy Passages study, which surveyed students in Alabama, California and Texas about how much bullying they experienced and evaluated their physical and mental health.
Overall, 4,297 students completed the surveys in fifth, seventh and 10th grades.
The researchers found that about a third of the students had been regularly bullied at some point during the course of the study.
Generally, those who had been bullied in the past scored better on measures of physical and mental health, compared to those who were currently being bullied. Teens who were bullied throughout their school career scored the worst.
For example, about seven percent of 10th grade students who had never been bullied scored low on mental health measures. That compared to 12 percent who had been bullied in the past, 31 percent who were currently being bullied and almost 45 percent of those who underwent persistent bullying.
About eight percent of 10th grade students who were never bullied had poor physical health, compared to 12 percent of those who were bullied in the past, 26 percent who were currently being bullied and 22 percent who were continuously bullied.
Poor mental health included traits such as being sad, afraid and angry, according to Bogart. Poor physical health included limitations like not being able to walk far and not being able to pick up heavy objects.
“I think one key thing to take from this is that any adult that has any contact with children . . . (should) know what the signs of bullying might be,” Bogart said. “This study tells us some of them, but not all of them.”
“There are physical signs, but they’re not always physical,” she said.
For example, one non-physical sign that a young person is being bullied is that the child doesn’t want to go to school.
Bogart also said it’s important for parents to know if their child falls into one of the groups at high risk for bullying. Those groups include children with physical disabilities, those who are overweight and obese and those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or questioning.
“I think this says – especially for parents – to be really attuned to what’s going on in their kids’ lives by paying attention, knowing what’s going on during the school day and being aware so they’ll notice changes like these,” she said.
What career will your child have when he grows up? Take our quiz to find out!
Image: Bullied girl, via Shutterstock
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Monday, January 6th, 2014
A growing number of teens who are bullied over their appearance are turning to a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide free plastic surgery to those with facial deformities. The trend is sparking debate over whether plastic surgery is the right way to cope with bullying, or if it is not a strategy that will ultimately help victims regain their self-esteem or keep bullies at bay. More from Today.com:
A nonprofit in New York has an admirable mission: to provide free plastic surgery for low-income children who have facial deformities. Some of the kids who apply to the Little Baby Face Foundation do so because they are being teased over their looks. But is plastic surgery a smart way to help bullying victims?
For 15-year-old Renata and her mother, the answer was yes. Renata had been taunted so cruelly over her appearance that she stopped attending school altogether; she’s been home-schooled for the last three years.
“They were just calling me ‘that girl with the big nose,’” Renata told NBC News. “It just really hurts. And you can’t get over it.”
Last year, Renata and her mom Michelle, who asked that their last name not be used, read about another girl around Renata’s age, named Nadia Ilse. Bullied over her looks, Nadia transformed her appearance through free plastic surgery provided by the Little Baby Face Foundation. After that story hit the media, the Little Baby Face Foundation received hundreds more calls and applications than usual. Renata’s mom was one of them — she called the foundation and she and her daughter worked on the application. “I tried convincing myself that I am fine the way I am, but I just don’t believe it anymore,” Renata wrote in her application letter.
The idea of using plastic surgery to stop a child from being bullied has some experts very concerned, including New York psychologist Vivian Diller, who has written extensively about the issue.
“Are we saying that the responsibility falls on the kid who’s bullied, to alter themselves surgically?” Diller asked in an interview with NBC News. “We really have to address the idea that there should be zero tolerance of bullying, and maybe we even have to encourage the acceptance of differences.”
Renata’s mom disagrees. To her it’s similar to correcting any other sort of medical problem a child might have. “Parents correct kids’ teeth with braces to make their teeth straighter,” the teen’s mother said. “They’re still the same kid on the inside, but, unfortunately, people are judged on how they look.”
The Little Baby Face Foundation got a huge amount of media attention over the Nadia Ilse story, but doctors at the nonprofit insist they are not running an anti-bullying organization. Dr. Thomas Romo, the director of facial, plastic and reconstructive surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and the Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital, runs the foundation, which was started in 2002. Romo has treated children with deformities all around the world and wanted to bring that idea home to the U.S.
Image: Teen covering face, via Shutterstock
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Friday, November 22nd, 2013
Katelyn Roman, a 13-year-old Florida girl whose felony charges were dropped yesterday in the case of a schoolmate’s suicide that was allegedly prompted by cyber-bullying, is telling the media, “I do not feel l did anything wrong.” In September, 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick took her life after her family said she was “absolutely terrorized” by cyberbullies who were taunting her on social media. Roman and another girl–unnamed because she is a juvenile, were charged with third-degree aggravated stalking last month, but the charges have been dropped. More from Today.com:
Katelyn and a 14-year-old girl whom TODAY is not identifying because she is a juvenile were charged last month after Polk County (Fla.) Sheriff Grady Judd saw a derogatory post on Facebook that he claims was written by one of them. The two girls were arrested after Judd said they were allegedly involved in the bullying of Rebecca Sedwick, 12, who committed suicide on Sept. 9, with the 14-year-old allegedly writing on Facebook, “Yes ik [I know] I bullied Rebecca nd she killed her self but IDGAF [I don't give a f---].”
Judd also publicly revealed the girls’ names and their mug shots at an Oct. 15 news conference and told TODAY on Oct. 16 that one of the girls did something “despicable” with the post on Facebook.
On Wednesday, the Florida state attorney’s office announced that charges had been dropped and withheld comment on its reasoning because both girls are juveniles. After his public outrage over the alleged bullying by the two girls last month, Judd said at a news conference Wednesday that he was “exceptionally pleased with the outcome of the case.”
“We see the children are going to get the services they need,’’ Judd told reporters, referring to both girls being in counseling. “That’s the best outcome for juveniles. Our goal is that these kids never bully anyone again.”
Image: Web page, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, November 13th, 2013
Teenagers–especially heterosexual teens–who are either bullied or who are both bullies and victims of bullying are more likely to exhibit risky sexual behaviors, a new Boston University study has found. More from Reuters:
“Some previous research has found that aggression and sexual risk-taking are related, so it was not entirely surprising that bullies and bully-victims reported more sexual risk-taking than their peers,” Melissa K. Holt said.
What’s more, some research has found that kids and teens cope with being bullied by using drugs or alcohol, for instance. Acting out sexually may be another way young people respond to bullying, Holt told Reuters Health.
She led the research at the Boston University School of Education.
The study included almost 9,000 high school students from 24 schools who completed a survey about bullying and sexual behavior. “Risky sex” was defined as casual sex and sex while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
About 80 percent of the students said they had not bullied other kids or been bullied themselves.
Seven percent of those teens reported ever having casual sex with someone they had just met or didn’t know very well. And 12 percent said they had had sex under the influence.
The numbers were similar for students who said they had been bullied, but hadn’t bullied others.
But among the six percent of kids who claimed to have acted as bullies, one quarter had engaged in casual sex and just over a third said they’d had sex while drunk or high.
Another six percent of students said they had both acted as bullies and been the victims of bulling. Of those teens, 20 percent had had casual sex and 23 percent reported having sex under the influence.
The researchers accounted for other childhood experiences that might lead to sexual risk-taking, but the link to bullying remained.
Image: Bully, via Shutterstock
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Child Health, New Research, Parenting News