#cyberbullying | #cyberbully | The Menace Of Bullying: What Salem Parents Are Saying

SALEM, MA — An informal survey of Patch readers in New England shows great concern among parents about the extent and severity of bullying their children experience in school and online. Almost nine in 10 parents said their child had been bullied at least once, and nearly half said the bullying had occurred frequently.

Just three Salem parents responded to Patch’s survey, but all three said their children had been bullied. Two of the parents said their children were “frequently” bullied. Only one of the respondents was aware that Salem Public Schools has a zero-tolerance policy on bullying.

Parents left little doubt as to the consequences of unchecked bullying, saying their children dread going to school and their grades have suffered, that they have been forced to change schools, that they have been physically harmed or suffered from low self-esteem, anxiety and depression. Some parents said they knew of bullied children who had committed suicide.

One respondent said their son had left Salem Public Schools for high school, while another family was planning to move out of Salem because of bullying in the school system.

“It’s ended up having my child go to counseling and caused mental health issues,” one parent said. “Not just name-calling, but physical abuse, cyber etc. Much better now that he is out of Salem school district for high school.”

Patch has undertaken extensive coverage of the bullying issue in The Menace of Bullying: A Patch Advocacy Reporting Project.

The regional parent survey, timed to coincide with National Bullying Prevention Month in October, was posted on more than 100 Patch sites in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The survey is not scientific, but could be considered a broad indicator of parents’ feelings about the seriousness of bullying in their schools and communities.

Take the Patch bullying survey

As of Tuesday, Oct. 15, more than 420 parents has responded to the Patch survey. The key findings were:

  • Nearly 89 percent of parents said their children had been bullied at least once, and nearly half — 47 percent — said bullying had been frequent. Only 11 percent said their children had never been bullied.
  • Bullying took many forms, from teasing and name-calling to exclusion from groups to physical harm such as punching or kicking. Nearly a third of respondents said their children had experienced some sort of physical harm.
  • Bullying took many forms, from teasing and name-calling to exclusion from groups to physical harm such as punching or kicking. Nearly a third of respondents said their children had experienced some sort of physical harm.

These informal findings should be compared to statistics compiled in more scientific surveys, which note that:

To comment on this story, email bullying@patch.com. And to learn more about bullying prevention, visit Patch partner NoBully.org.

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