Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Students in special education often face situations at school that have a lasting negative effect on learning. Students receive special education services in different settings. These settings allow regular, as well as special education students to learn in the same environment. Physical differences, lack of social skills, and learning disabilities can make some students a target for bullying.
Students with disabilities can receive a free and appropriate education with proper accommodations and modifications in the classroom. The learning environment can be less that enjoyable for some students due to bullying. Bullying can take many different forms.
When thinking of bullying, we often think of physical altercations, such as the stronger student versus the weaker student. Bullying does not always have to be physical. It can be delivered in the form of verbal communication, such as teasing. Cyber bullying is also become more common. Students are often afraid to speak out against the bully. Parents, as well as school staff should watch for warning signs of bullying.
Regular patterns of the child may change at home. He or she may become withdrawn, show unexplainable injuries, or have an unexplainable decrease in grades and attendance. Nightmares can also occur.
There are no federal laws against bullying at school. In some instances, federal civil rights laws can be violated. Schools are obligated to take action when bullying occurs. Once harassing behavior has been reported to the school, they are obligated to investigate the situation.
Schools across the country have set up anti-bullying programs in the attempt to increase awareness on bullying. Positive interventions have been put into place to teach respect for others. They will also increase social interaction among the students.
Students that are bullied often go on to be bullies themselves. They treat others the way that they have been treated. Children with learning disabilities, as well as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, are more likely to be victims of bullies.
Bullying is a learned behavior. Because it is learned, it can be prevented with behavior programs. Antisocial behavior can have a long lasting effect on students in special education. Schools should be a safe and engaging learning environment, which is free from physical, verbal, or other negative behaviors that have a negative effect on learning.