Edward Brown, M.S.
Bullying has become a hot issue in recent times. According
to the StopBullying.gov web site, bullying is defined as “Unwanted, aggressive
behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power
imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over
time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting
Bullystatistics.org quoted that, When it comes to verbal bullying, this type of bullying is the most
common type with about 77 percent of all students being bullied verbally in
some way or another including mental bullying or even verbal abuse. These types
of bullying can also include spreading rumors, yelling obscenities or other
derogatory terms based on an individual's race, gender, sexual orientation,
religion, etc. Out of the 77 percent of those bullied, 14 percent have a severe
or bad reaction to the abuse, according to recent school bullying statistics.
These numbers make up the students that experience poor self-esteem,
depression, anxiety about going to school and even suicidal thoughts
(bullycide) as a result of being bullied by their peers. Also as part of this
study, about one in five students admitted they are responsible for bullying
their peers. Almost half of all students fear harassment or bullying in the
bathroom at school, according to these school bullying statistics. As a result
of this fear and anxiety of being bullied, many students will make excuses or
find ways around going to school. School bullying statistics also reveal that
teens ages 12-17 believe they have seen violence increase at their schools. In
fact, these numbers also show that most violent altercations between students
are more likely to occur on school grounds than on the way to school for many
teens (para. 2).
Edward Brown, M.S., of Core Edge Police Professional
Development provides answers to questions on whether bullying is a public
Q: Why do you believe bullying has gained so much attention recently?
Brown: As you know, bullying has been around since the inception
of humans. I believe it’s gained greater exposure recently, because of the
fallout. In highly publicized cases, the
victims of bullying have either committed homicide or suicide. The terrorism
that plagues victims of bullying feels unbearable. I’m speaking from
experience. As an elementary and middle
school student, I felt like my world was crumbling when I was bullied.
Q: But you didn’t kill anybody or yourself. What has changed over the years?
Brown: The current environment for any social interaction is
perceived as less safe compared to the past.
With the rise of school shootings, foreign and domestic terrorism, and
the increase of violence in the media, it feels like civilization, as we know it, is under
attack. Children and adolescents who don’t
have practical life experiences exaggerate the possibilities of violence causing
them to act irrationally. Once fear and
imagination meet perceived danger, anything can happen.
Q: Do you believe that bullying has reached the level of a
public safety problem?
Brown: Yes. If perception is someone else’s reality, then the
responses we see being played out in the news, now become a bullying victim’s option.
As a survivor of bullying, I never thought about homicide or suicide,
but I wanted the taunting, pushing, and fear to stop. In retrospect, who knows what I would have
done if I was confronted with the fear faced by today’s youth. It has become too commonplace that a simple
fight I would have had forty years ago, now can end with someone dying. If the environment has become this
incendiary, then bullying definitely has become a public safety problem.
Q: What do you believe are solutions to bullying?
Brown: In my current research, I state that bullying is a
terroristic relationship between two or more disempowered individuals. The bully lacks power outside of physical
force. He either suffers from low self-esteem from lack of support and guidance
or is socially inept. The victim of
bullying suffers from low self-esteem, self-consciousness, and fails to assert himself
out of fear. Both are engaged in a
symbiotic relationship where needs are not being met in their emotional lives. As
a result, I talk about the three (3) aspects of power-direct, indirect, and
consolidated. Since the youth in many communities resemble the characters in
the TV show “The Little Rascals,” where parents or authority figures are rarely
around, bullying victims have to leverage at least one of these aspects of
power to become free of bullying.
Q: What do direct, indirect, and consolidated power mean?
Brown: Direct power is the ability to meet oppositional
power head on. You cannot bully a person
who is physically and psychologically equal to would-be bullies. Indirect power is using older
siblings, powerful friends, and allies to be perceived as possessing power. The
individual has power through these alliances, but rarely has to use them when
everyone has been put on notice about his support system. And consolidated power
is similar to indirect power, but is used as a way of leveraging knowledge and skills. With consolidated power, an individual who is
a math tutor for the high school football team, becomes a valuable resource to
that team. As such, the team protects
the asset that allows them to get good grades to play football. Consolidated
power uses psychological persuasion to ward off would-be bullies.
Q: In your latest book, How to Keep the World From Bullying You..., you mention that as children and
adolescents become older, their physical challenges become more psychological.
What do you mean by this?
Brown: My Aunt Ann once told me that as a person gets older,
his battles transition from physical to psychological ones. If a child or adolescent never learns assertiveness
and self-confidence, he will grow up to be pushed around in personal and
professional relationships. This pushing shows up in unrequited love
relationships, the butt of employee jokes, and blatant disrespect in social
settings. The individual’s power is still being usurped, although not in a
physical form. Once an individual
becomes more assertive and self-confident, the world views and treats him
differently. He uses voice, posture, and defiance as psychological weapons.
Q: It has been said that some people who become police
officers use their power as a result of early bullying. Do you believe this is
Brown: As a former Atlanta police officer, I have seen cases
when this was true. If I had not reinvented
myself by becoming more assertive and self-confident in college, I might have
been one of them. Becoming a police
officer is the ultimate in direct and indirect power. An individual officer has
the power to take life and liberty as well as call for back up (indirect) when
situations warrant. The officers I knew who used their power unwisely, and in
some instances illegally, were eventually weeded out. Their sense of
powerlessness eventually caught up with them.
To view the book, How to Keep the World From Bullying You:
Becoming More Assertive & Self-Confident for Smart and Gifted Students on Amazon Kindle, go