Most schools experience a problem class at some point in time. For obvious reasons this is not something that they broadcast to outsiders. Often it’s a fifth or sixth grade class that has seemingly forgotten what kindness is, though problematic dynamics show up as early as second grade. Once a class becomes “the problem class”, they often get stuck in that role. Educators vacillate between confronting the ringleaders and forcing change (highly unsuccessful) and giving up.
Gossip is an age-old way of sharing news about the happenings of a community and those within it. Evolutionary psychology suggests that gossip promotes bonding and affiliation within a group. Generally, though, gossip belongs to the dark side of communication, used to enhance the gossiper’s status at the cost of another’s reputation.
School bullying has the potential to leave its targets with a wide range variety of long-term effects. Research from Carlisle and Rofes found that the targets of bullying almost universally link their childhood bullying to the difficulties they now have in relationships, particularly in making friendships, belonging to groups, dealing with authority figures, facing conflict, and in relating to their significant others.
At Nobully.org we find that children are exposed to bullying as soon as a child enters kindergarten or first grade. In fact, more students feel victimized and excluded in the early grades than at any other point of their school career. (Over 22% according to Kochenderfer & Ladd’s study of kindergarteners in the Midwest.) Even more shockingly, the research shows that many of these students remain the “student that no-one wants to play with” as they travel up the school.