Bullying and Teasing of Youth with Disabilities: Creating Positive School Environments

This issue of NASET’s Bullying series was written by John Hoover and Pam Stenhjem over 10 years ago. We are presenting it today because so much of what was written still very much applies to our school issues today as they pertain to bullying. Bullying, harassment, and teasing within schools are not only practiced by many students, but have historically been allowed, ignored, and even modeled by adults. Bullying and teasing have been accepted by many as rites of passage for youth–a normal part of the childhood and adolescent experience. In fact, some researchers have recently wondered whether bullying may serve some purpose for society, resulting in ambivalence toward antiviolence programs (Hoover & Salk, 2003). However, the fact that youth who have been bullied, teased, and ostracized continue to use violence as a means of fighting back, indicates otherwise. The issue to be addressed is: Bullying has been proven by numerous studies to be a serious problem nationwide. Harassment of youth with disabilities in particular has been steadily increasing. Whole-school antibullying/antiviolence programs are necessary to address this problem effectively.
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