The Bullying In Special Education Education Essay Example
The Bullying In Special Education Education Essay Example

The Bullying In Special Education Education Essay Example

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  • Pages: 11 (2829 words)
  • Published: July 13, 2017
  • Type: Research Paper
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Intimidation in schools is often perceived as a typical aspect of childhood, sometimes viewed as harmless teasing. Nonetheless, recent studies have revealed the actual damage it can inflict. Numerous bullies may not comprehend the repercussions of their behavior and perceive it as humorous. This becomes particularly worrisome for students with disabilities who are more prone to being bullied when integrated into mainstream classrooms. Students with behavioral, emotional, or developmental challenges can both fall victim to and engage in bullying.

Bullies tend to target victims who share similarities with them in appearance, abilities, or behavior. However, the consequences for those being bullied can be severe and result in feelings of embarrassment, fear, and anxiety. These experiences can ultimately lead to depression, decline in academic performance, and even suicide (CEC, 2012). It is crucial for teachers, administrators, parents, and students to work together in creating a safe and inc


lusive environment as our school communities become more diverse. This responsibility includes both moral obligations and legal considerations that protect students with disabilities through acts like IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The World Health Organization (WHO) emphasizes the significance of participation.

Providing a range of suitable social, recreational, and skill-building activities is crucial for ensuring the overall well-being of students with exceptionalities. The indicators of well-being encompass emotional, material, and physical health; interpersonal relationships; absence of pain and discomfort; self-esteem; autonomy; social inclusion; and individual rights (Cummings et al., 2006). As an intervention specialist, it is my responsibility to foster independence and facilitate the acquisition of necessary skills to enable our students to

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lead fulfilling lives. The definition of bullying encompasses any aggressive behavior that aims to cause harm and involves a power imbalance, whether perceived or actual (Raskauskas & Modell, 2011).

Strong-arming behaviors can take various forms, including physical acts (such as striking, kicking, and forcing), verbal actions (such as threats and name calling), relational behavior (such as excluding individuals and spreading rumors), or sexual misconduct (such as harassment and molestation).

Prevalence of Bullying and Victimization Issues among Students with Exceptionalities

The term "students with exceptionalities" refers to children who have disabilities such as physical, learning, intellectual, and emotional impairments.

There is evidence that students in special education classes are stigmatized, socially rejected, and more frequently victimized by their peers, in comparison to students in mainstream classes.

Physical Disabilities

Students with physical disabilities, such as sight, hearing, and mobility problems, may be perceived as weak by others. This perception makes them more susceptible to verbal or physical abuse. Research shows that these disabilities have an impact on peer relationships. One specific disability within this category is Cerebral Palsy. It has been observed that children with Cerebral Palsy experience increased verbal victimization and occasional instances of physical victimization.

Girls with Cerebral Palsy may experience a decrease in their friendly relationships and are perceived as socially isolated, lacking sociability/leadership qualities (Cummings, Pepler, & Mishna, 2006). Similarly, students with hearing impairments face difficulties in social interactions and often feel more lonely compared to their peers due to being excluded from conversations. In more severe cases of hearing impairment, students may have difficulty understanding sign language used for communication, which increases their vulnerability to exploitation. This is concerning because in such situations, students with Cerebral Palsy indirectly become

targets of bullying through exclusion, which hinders their ability to independently develop social skills.

It is essential for students, particularly those with hearing impairments, to learn how to communicate their needs, desires, discomforts, or ask for help. In my opinion, the school should offer a class or program that teaches students sign language and effective communication methods when interacting with individuals who are hearing-impaired.

Learning Disabilities

Students with specific learning disabilities may be perceived as troublemakers, victims of bullying, or both.

Students with learning disabilities often face difficulties in social interactions and are frequently excluded by their peers, making them more vulnerable to bullying. They are commonly seen as lacking social skills, being uncooperative, introverted, and having few friends. In addition, they struggle to understand social cues like facial expressions and verbal/nonverbal communication. Due to their disability, classmates may feel intellectually and socially superior, leading them to target students who struggle in these areas. Students with learning disabilities often experience embarrassment because they require extra support and work at a slower pace compared to their peers. Their goal is to seamlessly integrate with their general education peers who perform at the same academic level.

This paragraph emphasizes the significance of not feeling ashamed to seek assistance as a student. It acknowledges that each student has unique requirements and necessitates resources and support tailored to their specific needs. However, it recognizes that students with learning disabilities are more prone to exhibiting behavioral issues that may result in aggressive and anti-social behavior, leading them to become bullies. The paragraph underscores how low self-esteem and frustration at school triggered by the learning disability can prompt these students to distance themselves from their peers

and engage in inappropriate conduct. This conduct is perceived as a defense mechanism for self-preservation, ultimately transforming them into bullies.

Students with learning disabilities may also experience bullying or engage in bullying behaviors because of their disability. Despite appearing like typical students, they have an unseen neuropsychological defect. Mainstreamed students often expect them to perform academically and socially just like everyone else since the disability is not visible. As educators, it is crucial for us to educate mainstream students that each individual learns at their own pace and reduce the stigma associated with seeking extra support for learning disabilities.

In our classroom, one approach we can take is grouping students with diverse abilities together so that struggling students can receive assistance from their peers. This approach helps classmates understand that they can positively contribute by aiding their fellow learners instead of engaging in bullying or belittling behavior towards them due to their learning disability.

Intellectual Disabilities

Students with intellectual disabilities often experience various forms of mistreatment, such as verbal abuse, theft/financial mistreatment, neglect, and physical, emotional, and sexual abuse (Cummings, Pepler & Mishna, 2006). They have low self-esteem and depend on others for guidance. Additionally, they struggle to identify potentially dangerous situations (Flynt, 2004). Those with moderate to severe intellectual disabilities are especially vulnerable to exploitation due to cognitive impairments affecting their motor skills, physical health, and communication abilities. Consequently, they become easy targets for bullies. These students face challenges in extricating themselves from harmful situations or communicating about their experiences.

Emotional Disabilities

According to Flynt (2004), emotional and behavioral difficulties are frequently encountered by individuals, which can be attributed to genetic factors or harsh environmental conditions. Students who have

emotional disturbances or behavioral issues often become targets of bullying due to symptoms such as anxiety, withdrawal, low self-esteem, caution/shyness, or diagnosed personality disorders. These traits make them vulnerable to bullies who perceive them as socially awkward individuals that would diminish their own social standing if they were associated with someone with an emotional disability.

The situation described exemplifies strong-arming, wherein a student is facing exclusion due to their disability. It is vital that every student has the right to be in an inclusive school environment without encountering judgment based on their disability. As educators, it is our duty to educate students about the diverse experiences and backgrounds individuals have, which may result in academic and social challenges. However, we should not isolate them; instead, we should strive to establish a school atmosphere where all students can learn and support one another. Students with emotional disabilities particularly face difficulties in creating and maintaining positive relationships with peers and teachers (Carran, 2009). Nurturing these connections can significantly enhance a student's potential for academic success.

Strategies for Preventing Bullying among Students with Disabilities

School jurisdictions have the responsibility to establish plans and policies to address bullying and students with disabilities. These strategies include: (a) implementing both school-wide and individual supports, (b) promoting cultural competency and diversity awareness, (c) integrating measures that address immediate physical safety in disciplinary policies and codes of behavior, and (d) emphasizing collaboration among administration, school personnel, students, families, and community agencies (Magg, 2012).

The Effectiveness of the Whole School Approach

The Whole School Approach has proven effective in developing successful school-based bullying prevention programs and policies. These policies

are communicated to students, teachers, administration, parents, and other school staff such as office personnel, bus drivers, and lunch and playground supervisors. In this approach,

it is the responsibility of the school administration to ensure that the entire community is educated on bullying. For the prevention plan to be effective,

it must be ongoing and integrated into the curriculum throughout the school year,
either formally or informally.

The aim of this strategy is to stop bullying in schools by establishing a positive social environment. This includes starting formal discussions in classrooms at the start of the school year and consistently reinforcing them, with particular attention given to students with special needs. The goal is to ensure that all students feel secure and encouraged. However, a problem with current anti-bullying approaches in schools is that they frequently overlook students with disabilities. To tackle this issue, adjustments are necessary in evaluating needs, incorporating elements, and implementing delivery methods specifically designed for students with disabilities.

The needs appraisal is utilized to assess bullying in schools through the use of student questionnaires. However, it is vital to modify the interview method for students with disabilities in order to ensure accurate responses due to the varying degrees and types of disabilities they may possess. Similarly, like adjusting lesson plans or activities for individual students, safeguarding all students from bullying, particularly those with disabilities, is crucial. These students may face difficulties in communicating their needs to others; therefore, it is essential to provide them with resources to address their concerns about bullying. Raising awareness serves as one approach to meeting the needs of disabled students by fostering an inclusive environment that comprehends disability

requirements and demonstrates sensitivity towards bullying through educating both students and staff members. By instructing individuals about the repercussions of bullying, we lay a foundation for effectively dealing with and preventing it.

The school must define bullying and its consequences to effectively address it and establish a reporting process. To do this, they should implement professional development programs that educate staff and students on how to recognize and handle bullying promptly.

Talking to Students about Exceptionalities

Approaching discussions respectfully with students about disabilities and differences is very effective. It is essential to help students develop positive attitudes towards diversity from a young age, as this will contribute to a positive social environment that extends beyond the school and classroom, into the workplace and community.

The concern lies in how to address pupils with exceptionalities in a way that does not embarrass or further isolate them. One approach is to have an older pupil or an adult with a disability speak to the school or class about their disability and the social impact it has had on their life, including any incidents of bullying they may have faced. Additionally, public health officials or a representative from a disability organization can address the class or school about the disability. This is important because it will help students understand how they can support their peers with exceptionalities and avoid actions that make their school experience more difficult. These discussions can be done school-wide through an assembly-style presentation or in a more intimate classroom setting where students can openly express their opinions and concerns.

Social Narratives

Students, especially those with severe disabilities, can benefit from social narratives.

The purpose of a societal

narrative is to enhance one's understanding of various societal situations. Students will learn appropriate behaviors, responses, and reactions. Social Stories can address a range of social situations and can be implemented by identifying individual target skills, creating a suitable scenario, presenting the Social Story, discussing the implications of the Social Story, employing self-modeling, and practicing and reinforcing the social skill in typical settings (Rose & Monda-Amaya, 2012). I believe this is an effective technique to teach students how to behave because we want them to acquire the necessary functional skills for effective communication in society. However, I believe it should be used in conjunction with other strategies I mentioned.

It is not only the responsibility of students with exceptionalities to change their behavior in order to be accepted by others. It is everyone's responsibility in the community to be educated about students with disabilities and ensure that they contribute to improving the overall quality of life for these students.

Intervening in Bullying Problems among Students with Exceptionalities

Legal and Practice Considerations

It is a matter of basic rights for school decision makers and teachers to ensure that students with exceptionalities have equal status within the school community. Often, children who do not excel in sports or academics are not given an equal opportunity to be recognized. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act require schools to provide equal education to all students.

It is important for students to have the right to learn in a safe and supportive environment. Students who are bullied by their peers are more likely to experience physical, behavioral, developmental, and learning disabilities. Therefore, it

is crucial to remove all forms of ill will from the environment. The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights defines prejudiced peer-on-peer torment as bullying based on race, color, national origin, sex, or disability that creates a hostile environment in which the school authorities tolerate, ignore, or fail to adequately address the bullying (Maag & Katsiyannis, 2012).

The school has the responsibility to carefully evaluate the misconduct to determine if it violates civil rights laws against discrimination. They must ensure that it does not hinder the student's educational and social opportunities. If it does, it is the school's duty to take immediate action to eliminate the hostile environment and prevent its recurrence. This issue is important because if students who are being bullied feel that they cannot attend school or focus on their schoolwork, and if it damages their social relationships, then students with disabilities are being denied the educational benefits that they are entitled to under IDEA's free appropriate public education.

Adult Scaffolding

The concept of scaffolding, as introduced by Brunder and Vgotsky, highlights the role of adults in providing a temporary support system for children to surpass their normal performance level.

When applied to intimidation, victimization becomes an issue. Adult scaffolding enables children to acquire and practice valuable relationship skills such as self-calming techniques, managing frustration, forming and joining supportive peer groups, solving problems, and communicating assertively. This approach allows students involved in bullying to consider it from the perspective of the other person and cultivate empathy. It can create a positive environment where students derive satisfaction from helping others.


Some students with exceptionalities can openly communicate their experiences of victimization. It is important to attentively

listen to the student's painful story as it can be therapeutic for them. Due to their disability, these students may already feel inferior to their general education peers and believe they have fewer opportunities to express themselves.

Since you are supporting a child with a disability, you may need to use scaffolding to help them create a coherent narrative of the events that took place, depending on the severity of their impairment. By providing a beginning, middle, and end, you can assist the child in understanding the experience.


There is a lot of information available about bullying, but very little specifically addresses bullying in special education. Recent research suggests that children with disabilities are often targeted by their peers and may also engage in bullying behavior themselves. It is important that we establish supports to foster healthy relationships among students, promoting inclusion.

When a teacher or decision maker becomes aware of intimidation, whether through direct observation, peer reports, or parent reports, it is the responsibility of the school to respond in a way that protects and preserves the dignity of the victimized child. Students with exceptionalities often downplay their victimization by saying things like "I'm used to it," but they must understand that such behavior is unacceptable. They need to know that they have a support system they can turn to and discuss the incident with, and they should be reassured that appropriate measures will be taken to prevent future instances of bullying. Students with exceptionalities are a particularly vulnerable group, and it is our duty as educators and decision makers to ensure that they have a safe school environment that enhances their overall quality of life.

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