Wednesday, May 14th, 2014
Being bullied has been found in a new study to raise a protein level in the bloodstream that’s linked to both physical and mental health problems. More from The New York Times:
Being bullied raises the blood’s level of C-reactive protein, or CRP, a marker of systemic inflammation and a risk factor for cardiovascular and other diseases.
Scientists followed 1,420 boys and girls ages 9 to 21, interviewing bullies, victims and their parents. They assessed CRP levels with periodic blood tests.
After controlling for initial levels of CRP and for many factors that affect it — sex, age, race and various health and socioeconomic issues — the researchers found that CRP levels in victims increased in direct proportion to the number of bullying incidents they experienced.
Bullies, in contrast, had low increases in CRP, even lower than those in children not involved in bullying at all. The finding suggested that a bully’s increased social status might have biological advantages, the scientists said. Their study was published online on Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“The only other kind of social adversity where we see this kind of long-term effect is in children who are physically abused or neglected,” said the lead author, William E. Copeland, an associate professor of psychiatry at Duke.
Image: Bullied boy, via Shutterstock
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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.
Friday, April 18th, 2014
A flyer sent home to the families of fifth-graders at a Lincoln, Nebraska elementary school has angered parents and prompted an embarrassed retraction by the school because it offered anti-bullying advice that is questionable at best, dangerous at worst. Jezebel reports on some of the bullying coping strategies the flyer suggests to students at Zemen Elementary School:
- Rule #7: Do not tell on bullies. The number one reason bullies hate their victims, is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?
- Rule #8: Don’t be a sore loser.
- Rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get “hooked” by put-downs. Make a joke out of it or agree with the put-down. For example: “If you think I’m ugly, you should see my sister!”
The Lincoln Journal Star has more on the school’s response:
LPS Communications Director Mary Kay Roth said the flier was not approved to be sent home and was inadvertently included in fifth-graders’ Tuesday folders that went home to parents. Such folders typically contain student work and other information for parents.
“It’s a staff issue, so we’re taking care of the staffing error,” Roth said. “It wasn’t supposed to be sent home.”
She declined to elaborate on exactly how it happened, but said Zeman teachers will talk to all fifth-graders Thursday to clarify how the district believes students should handle bullying.
“Our educators at Zeman Elementary School work hard to provide accurate and appropriate lessons and education for our students in how to handle bullying situations,” Williams, the principal, said in the message to parents. “The flier was sent home with good intentions, unfortunately it contained advice that did not accurately reflect LPS best practices regarding response to bullying incidents.”
Student Services Director Russ Uhing said the district has ongoing lessons about bullying, and fifth-graders at Zeman had been talking about how to handle the situation if they become targets of a bully. That message, he said, was “very different” from the one that was sent home.
The information shared with students in class, Uhing said, included LPS’s philosophy: asking the bully to stop, then walking away; and if it continues, telling a parent or teacher.
Image: Backpack, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014
A Pennsylvania teenager is appealing a court ruling that required him to pay a fine for allegedly violating wiretapping laws when he recorded incidents in which he felt bullied by classmates during school classes. More from Newser:
The 15-year-old boy, who has learning disabilities, recorded his tormenters in class after enduring regular bullying, his parents tell the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. South Fayette High School reacted by slapping the teen with detention and dragging him before a judge for violating wiretap laws.
“The whole thing has been a horrible nightmare,” said the boy’s father, Shea Love. “This whole ordeal has made my son miserable.” School officials said nothing to the press, but according to a transcript of a legal hearing, the teen said he recorded his tormenters “because I always felt like it wasn’t me being heard.”
Love says that on the recording, one boy tells another to yank his son’s pants down, and the teacher tells them to get back to work. “What?” says one of the boys. “I was just trying to scare him.”
Ultimately, a judge found the teen guilty and his parents paid a fine. Now the boy is seeking an appeal and his parents are pursuing a civil suit against the district, WPXI reports.
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Image: Mobile phone camera, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, March 19th, 2014
A 9-year-old North Carolina boy who carried a “My Little Pony” lunch bag to school and was bullied has been prohibited from bringing the lunchbox back to school, calling it a “trigger for bullying.” The move has enraged the boy’s mother and other parents who feel the school is being too permissive to the bullying and punishing the boy for his personal style preferences.
WLOS.com reports on the case:
Grayson Bruce, the My Little Pony fan, said, “They’re taking it a little too far, with punching me, pushing me down, calling me horrible names, stuff that really shouldn’t happen.”
Grayson picked a Rainbow Dash bag out this year, which he says has intensified the attacks against him. Grayson, “most of the characters in the show are girls, and most of the people put it toward girls, most of the toys are girlie, and surprisingly I found stuff like this.” Grayson has developed a following on Facebook after a friend made a support page for him.
Grayson stands by his favorite cartoon and the message he says it sends.
His mother says, why not?
Noreen Bruce, Grayson’s mom, “it’s promoting friendship, there’s no bad words, there’s no violence, it’s hard to find that, even in cartoons now.” But Noreen says Thursday the school asked him to leave the bag at home because it had become a distraction and was a “trigger for bullying.”
Noreen continued, “saying a lunchbox is a trigger for bullying, is like saying a short skirt is a trigger for rape. It’s flawed logic, it doesn’t make any sense.” Noreen wants punishment for the students involved.
Buncombe County Schools declined an interview, but sent us this statement, “an initial step was taken to immediately address a situation that had created a disruption in the classroom. Buncombe County Schools takes bullying very seriously, and we will continue to take steps to resolve this issue.”
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