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Following Shooting, Bullying Is Again in the Spotlight

Monday, March 12, 2012 - 01:33 PM

School communities are turning yet again to issues of bullying, guns and violence following the shooting rampage two weeks ago at Chardon High School near Cleveland. A student from another Ohio school, T. J. Lane, 17, is charged with turning a gun on a group of Chardon students, killing three and wounding two others.

Initial reports suggested that Mr. Lane may have resorted to violence because he was bullied.

On WNYC's "The Brian Lehrer Show" on Monday, Jessie Klein, assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice at Adelphi University, makes the case that bullying, while hardly a new phenomenon, is a growing crisis in American schools that stems from a culture of competition and aggression.

Dr. Klein is the author of "The Bully Society: School Shootings and the Crisis of Bullying in America's Schools," and she joined the program for a second time in two weeks to speak about the issue, after requests for more discussion on bullying from listeners.

WNYC's "The Brian Lehrer Show"

"I think what schools need to do is create community meetings, so that anytime anybody is hurt you support the student who's being hurt," said Dr. Klein, adding that it's not just about punishing the bully.

"What you need to do is show the kids that you care about them," she said.

You can also listen below to Dr. Klein's appearance on "The Brian Lehrer Show" just after the shooting, when she was joined by Slate's Emily Bazelon:

WNYC's "The Brian Lehrer Show"

Some listeners commented that parents, more than schools, needed to play a larger role in preventing bullying and teaching compassion. One listener hypothesized that school violence was tied to funding cuts to arts education, while another noted that bullying and "getting picked on" might help build stronger character.

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