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Diversity and Equity Homepage

NASW Calls Upon Social Workers to Speak Out Against Bullying

A Shift in Approach: Addressing Bullying in Schools (August 2010)bullying practice update

Across the country the term “bullying” is making national headlines regarding brutal acts committed by youth at school. Bullying is the intentional and repeated use of actions and words designed to intimidate or hurt another person.* Bullying can be verbal, physical, or nonverbal/nonphysical. Examples of verbal bullying include teasing, taunting, name-calling, and spreading rumors. Hitting, kicking, shoving, and destroying property are types of physical bullying. And threatening or obscene gestures are non-verbal/non-physical types of bullying.**  Yet with the progression of technology, bullying often occurs online or through use of personal mobile phones to text, email, or send an instant messages.    While “cyber bullying” typically refers to children or teens bullying  each other using the internet, mobile phones, or other cyber  technology (Stop Bullying Now, 2010*); recent headlines that included posting pictures and message via internet show that cyber bullying is no longer only used by youth.  

"The problem with cyber bullying is that it can be so broad and anonymous with extremely devastating consequences for LGBT youth and young adults. It can destroy lives by outing the youth, ruining reputations, and possibly block current or future employment."  (Josephine Tittsworth, LMSW, member NASW National Committee on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues)

As part of the It Gets Better Project, President Obama shares his message of hope and support for LGBT youth who are struggling with being bullied.

NASW Policy clearly addresses the importance of the social work profession to ensure a schools culture is free of intimidation or behaviors that can be viewed as harassing to students – including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students.***  NASW policy calls upon social workers across fields of practice to speak out against harassment and bullying; to educate colleagues, students, and institutions about the negative impact of harassing behaviors on the individual and the environment, and to advocate for practice and policies that ensure that students – of all ages – can live and learn in environments free from discrimination and bias. 

* NASW Practice Update - A Shift in Approach: Addressing Bullying in Schools (August 2010)

*** Social Work SpeaksSocial Work Speaks, "School Violence and Transgender and Gender Identity Issues"

Eighth Edition
NASW Policy Statements, 2009-2012
NASW Press

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