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Discussion Question: Victim of Peer Violence

At the age of nine, Anita moved from a small town to a big city because her father was transferred to a new job. Anita entered fifth grade in the middle of the term and was immediately ostracized by her female classmates. Anita begged her parents to send her back to her old school. Her parents assumed she was lonely and reassured her that things would get better soon.

Two girls began tripping Anita in the halls and taking items from her, starting with small items such as school supplies and graduating to larger items such as jewelry and clothes. They would “accidentally” elbow her in the stomach as they walked by, threw things at Anita when teachers were not looking, and whispered derogatory names to her. Anita started leaving for school in the morning, then circling back home when her parents left for work.

One day, Anita’s mother caught her in the attempt, but Anita refused to explain her actions. Reluctantly, she returned to school only to find the same two girls waiting for her in the restroom. They kicked her and pulled her hair. Anita returned to class teary-eyed and disheveled, but refused to talk to the teacher.  After class, her teacher encouraged her to talk to the school counselor, where Anita finally broke down and confessed what had been occurring.

We have learned that taking a social ecological approach (i.e., altering the environment) can be an important component to an intervention plan. As the school counselor, you must work with the school and Anita’s family to intervene on her behalf.

  • Based on this scenario, what environmental alterations might you suggest based on what you have learned?
  • How will you foster resiliency as part of a community-intervention plan?
  • Include issues of gender, diversity, and ethics in your plan.
  • As the counselor meeting with Anita, how will you manage state-mandated reporting laws and maintaining Anita’s confidentiality within the community?
  • How will you incorporate Anita’s parents and school into your plan?

here has been a great deal of attention to the impact of bullying during the past couple of years.  Some serious cases of children resorting to violent behavior after having been bullied have made the news but we are also learning about the prevalence of bullying throughout our communities.  It is important to consider how communities can impact the tendency for children to engage in bullying and how victims need to be supported.

Here is a link to an article about research regarding bullying at an elementary school

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