Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, overtime (stopbullying.gov). Although the effects of bullying are not easily quantified, the US government acknowledges youth who are bullied are more likely to experience depression and anxiety (the leading factor leading to suicide amongst youth), feelings of sadness and loneliness, health complaints, and decreased academic achievements (GPA and standardized test scores).
The White House AAPI Initiative held a Bullying Prevention Summit with key Obama administration officials. At this summit, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) released new data in 2011 that found AAPI students are 20% more likely than other racial groups to be bullied in the classroom, and 3 times as likely to be cyber-bullied once or twice a month.
Asian Pacific Americans across the country are being bullied at alarming rates and the consequences have proven disastrous. In November 2012, David Phan, a 14 year old boy from Bennion Junior High School in Taylorsville, Utah tragically committed suicide by shooting himself after school in front of his peers. Phan was bullied for weeks on end. Although Phan had been in regular contact with a school counselor for over 18 months, district spokesman Ben Horsley told the Salt Lake Tribune “We have no formal reports of bullying.” This development clearly demonstrates that bullying is not simply physical and can largely remain undetected when unreported or if school officials are not actively using anti-bullying measures. Clearly, Phan’s case is just one example of many of the tragic effects of widespread bullying in our communities.
As bullying prevention resources are becoming available. Most recently, Highmark, a non-profit health insurance company, followed Olweus’ model with 210,000 participants in Pennsylvania schools (highest # ever participating) and found participants bullied two or more times per month declining from 27 to 35 percent in elementary, middle, and high school. Students who said they were being bullied two or more times dropped: (1) high school: 12.7%, (2) middle school: 15%, (3) elementary: 9.5%
Source: OCA National