INTERVIEW: Bullying in schools

By Ryan Nobles - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - We're going to delve into a big problem affecting our schools -- bullying.

Earlier this month, students at Varina High School took their fight against bullies to the football field. They made a very public demonstration of their goal to end the problem in their schools.

And someone who has dealt with bullying quite a bit over his career is NBC12's education expert, Dr. Bill Bosher.

RYAN: Dr. Bosher, bullying is not a new problem by any stretch of the imagination, is it?

DR. BILL BOSHER: No, Ryan, it's always existed and yet, probably for 40 years, countries like Norway and Sweden were studying this and we stopped talking about it. It's only been in the last 10 in the states that people really started to discuss bullying, its impact, its influences, how to deal with it, even to the point that last year legislation in Virginia was passed to have every school board pass a model that would help them to deal with the issue.

RYAN: And the fact that he we didn't talk about it was really a problem, right? Because we see so many kids suffer in silence. How did teachers and parents help to identify these kids that aren't talking about how bullying is really affecting them?

DR. BILL BOSHER: Ryan, so often, and sometimes I've been bullied in interviews like this. You're not bullying me today.

RYAN: No, I'm not.

DR. BILL BOSHER: But the reality as real or perceived power of one person over another, and for young people, it's often an effort to get attention. Some people run the football, some play an instrument, some act on the stage, and some peep get attention by being bullies. And we need to help those young people to realize that there are other outlets. We also find that in many instances, not every one, but where you find a little bully, there was a big bully, and that was a mom or a dad. When you bring them in the office, you find the same behavior with you that you found with that young person with others.

RYAN: And that's one of the big things that is being talked about right now is kind of the responsibility of all of this, and who needed to stand up, and we see like the students in Varina standing up on their own, but how much do adults play in setting an appropriate model for youngsters when it comes to this.

DR. BILL BOSHER: Ryan, for every young person in trouble, there are 500 I'll take home to live in our house. Young people are wonderful role models, like those standing up, but we hear about the ones who are in trouble, who are problematic. I think probably what we need to do with young people who are acting out in this way is find out why they are doing it, and Dr. Phil, though it was a great show, he talked about the overt, the hitting. The more insidious form of bullying is the innuendo. It's the look, the inference, it's the intimidation on the internet that doesn't come with touching you at all, but evokes just as much fear on the part of the person who's being on hurt.

RYAN: It's a serious problem and hopefully we are started the discussion here. Dr. Bosher, thanks for being here, we appreciate it.

DR. BILL BOSHER: Thanks Ryan.

Copyright 2010 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.