POLICE ASSOCIATION OF NOVA SCOTIA 113 Their reinforcement of the bully may serve to maintain the bully's power over the victim and within the peer group. The bully may also affect the peers who are watching. • Peers who watch bullying may become excited and more likely to join in. • Compared to girls, boys are more likely to be actively drawn into bullying episodes (Craig and Pepler, 1997; Salmivalli et al., 1996). • In playground observations, peers intervened in significantly more episodes than did adults: 11% of episodes versus 4% (Craig and Pepler, 1997). What Role Does the Family Play? Children's behavior patterns are first established at home. It is important that parents create a home environment that discourages bullying behavior and supports children who are victimized . • Bullies often come from homes that are neglectful, hostile and that use harsh punishment (Olweus, 1993). Bullying may be learned by observing conflict between parents. Care needs to be taken by parents so that they do not model bullying for their children. • Fighting amongst siblings to solve problems can inadvertently support bullying when it is accepted as a normal part of growing up. • Victims often keep their problems a secret because they feel that they should handle bullying themselves. Often they worry about the bully's revenge or other children's disapproval, and/or they think adults can do little to help them (Garfalo et al., 1987; Olweus, 1991). • When they are courageous enough to tell, victims talk more often to parents than to teachers. As their children's most important advocates, parents must support their victimized children by working with the school to ensure their children's safety. What Role Does the School Play? Schools play an important role in shaping children's development. As with families, schools must strike a balance between clear, consistent discipline and warm, supportive relationships. • Principals: Principals set the tone for their schools. Bullying is reduced if the principal is committed to addressing bullying (Charach et al., 1995). Strategies used by principals include: consistent and formative consequences for bullies; an open-door policy for victims, with empathetic responses to their concerns; and working together with teachers on classroom management, and strategies for troubled children. • Student-Staff Relations: Bullying is less prevalent in schools where there are supportive relations among school staff, warm relations between staff and students, shared decision-making among staff and students, and where the adults do not model bullying for the students (Olweus, 1987). • School Policy: The key to reducing bullying in schools is a clear policy regarding bullying with consistently applied consequences (Olweus, 1991). • School Organization: Schools which emphasize academic success without respecting children's individual strengths and weaknesses tend to have more bullying (Tattum, 1982). • Playground Supervision: Students report that the majority of bullying occurs on the playground (Olweus, 1991; Pepler et al., 1997). Bullying occurs where there is little supervision or when large groups of children engage in rough-and-tumble play or competitive sports (Murphy et al., 1983). What Role Does Broader Society Play? Bullying problems may reflect Canada's cultural tolerance of aggression. Much of this tolerance is created through the popular media, including television, movies, music and video games. The consistent message presented by these media is that aggression is an effective solution to social problems. Aggressive children are more likely than non-aggressive children to be drawn to and imitate media violence (Huesmann et al., 1984). Because Canada is culturally diverse, children may be bullied due to their race or ethnicity. Within schools, anti-racism and anti-sexism initiatives are often considered together with anti-bullying programs to promote positive social behavior. As children enter adolescence, bullying declines somewhat and sexual harassment, both between boys and girls and within same-gender groups, increases. Unwanted sexual harassment, including comments, looks, gestures, and name-calling, is reported by 48% of 12-year-old children (McMaster et al., 1997). Although equal numbers of boys and girls report experiencing this form of bullying, more boys than girls acknowledge that they have sexually harassed other students. continued... (...Bullying In Canada continued)