“There are 160,000 students who will not attend school today out of
fear of being bullied. The psychosocial aspects of being a victim of
from depression and anxiety to substance and alcohol abuse to
suicide.” – Terry Driskill
Terry Driskill, MA, MA, LPC
is a licensed professional counselor who practices in Louisiana. He’s
working toward a Doctor of Education in Counseling Psychology at
Argosy University, Online Programs with a dissertation focused on the
bullying. To spread the word about bullying prevention and teen
suicide, Terry is organizing the Blake Sims Louisiana Conference on
Bullying and Teen
Suicide, to be held on February 9, 2017 at the Hilton Garden Inn
in West Monroe, Louisiana.
. Terry completed a Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from Argosy University, Online Programs in 2013.
With National Bullying Prevention Month winding down, we
recently caught up with Terry to talk about the conference and how his
work can help people to
better understand the problems of bullying and teen suicide.
Why did you decide to focus your dissertation on the topic of bullying?
I became interested in studying bullying after the Columbine High
School shooting in April 1999. At that time, the shooters were thought
to have been
bullied during school because of their gothic clothing. I wanted to
know if school shootings had a relationship with bullying. Some will say
no causal relationship with school shootings, but [I believe there
is a] relationship between school shooters and bullying.
In a Birth Cohort study in Finland, a group of children were
followed from birth to age 24. At age eight, these children were
interviewed, along with
parents and teachers. The study showed that a child who was bullied
at age eight is more likely do be an offender at the age of 24. This is
an area of
future research, to find out if there is a direct relationship
between bullying and school shooters.
What have you found in your research that’s surprised you?
It surprised me that girls are becoming more physical in bullying.
Normally, the boys [engage in] physical aspects of hitting, pushing,
shoving, and other
physical acts. The girls are known mostly for “relational bullying”
through social media and cell phones. The trend seems to be moving
physical bullying for females.
Why did you decide to plan this conference?
The conference is named after my cousin, Blake Sims, who was a
Louisiana educator in a small rural parish. He was a teacher, principal,
and coach for over
30 years. His son was an educator and coach and his daughter, Kristy
Sims Curry, is the head ladies basketball coach at the University of
wife, Ann, was also a teacher and coach in the same rural school
The professionals coming in for the conference are [experts in the field].
· Dr. Sue Limber is from Clemson University and her special area is bullying and legal matters
· Dr. Charisse Nixon is from The Pennsylvania State University and
her special area is resilience and relationships in bullying behaviors.
Dr. Nixon is the
co-author a national survey with 13,000 students.
· Stan Davis is a retired school counselor, has over 30 years of
studying bullying behaviors, and was the co-author of the national
survey with Dr. Nixon.
· Maureen Underwood, a licensed clinical social worker who has
spoken nationally and internationally on teen suicide. This is the “A”
team in bullying and
teen suicide in America. I will have a web site going live this week
in which to register. There are plans for a National Conference on
Bullying and Teen
Suicide in 2018.
Do you have any tips for bullying prevention?
· In my research there have been a few common denominators for bullying prevention.
· There have to be clear rules in the school on aggressive behaviors such as bullying.
· There has to be clear boundaries within the school, home and community so kids know what unacceptable behaviors is.
· Parents need to spend quality time with their children talking
about rules and boundaries in the home. The child needs to know it is
safe to talk with
mother/and/or father about what happens at school. Keep
· The school staff has to take bullying behavior serious because the psychological outcomes of bullying are serious.
· The school staff and others who have direct contact with children
need to have training on recognition, intervention, and prevention of
bullying in the
school. The external components such as security cameras, metal
detectors and zero tolerance does not work.
· The community needs to be educated on bullying and how to detect it and intervene.
· Everyone who has contact with students daily should be and need to be involved in preventing bullying.
Why the sudden spotlight on bullying? Is this a new phenemonon?
Bullying is not a new-found behavior. It was cited as early as 1530,
but the systematic research on bullying did not start until the 1970’s
in Sweden, when
Dr. Dan Olweus conducted the first research on bullying behavior at
the request of the Swedish government. This request was made when three
suicide as a result of bullying over a long time frame.
Bullying is recognized by the Centers of Disease Control, the World
Health Organization, and academia. It’s defined as a serious aggressive
is repeated over time with the intention of causing bodily or
psychological harm to a child who is smaller in stature, with an
imbalance of power between
the bully and victim.
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