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Bullies and Bullied Frequently See School Nurse

Surprise Finding of Study: Kids Who Are Aggressive Also Show Up at the Nurse’s Office

Bullies Frequently Bullied Themselves

The new research will contribute to a field of research that is still developing, says Allan L. Beane, PhD, CEO and president of Bully Free Systems, a prevention program for school districts.

He cites the unique approach of evaluating nurse visits. "Even though we have always thought visits to the school nurse's office was a 'red flag,' to my knowledge, the study is unique in that it looks at nurse visits by victims of bullying and bullies."

Beane says he was initially surprised that both victims and bullies made injury complaints. However, he says, this may be explained at least partially by the dual role some bullies have. "Some bullies are also victims," he says, "perhaps mistreated at home or in their neighborhoods."

The effects of bullying on victims are well known, he says. But only more recently have experts become more aware of the impact bullying has on the bullies.

"Recent studies have found some bullies to be depressed, just like their victims," he says. That is not surprising, he tells WebMD, given that some bullies may be mistreated at home.

The unhealthy effects of anger, displayed by the bullies, are well known, too, he says.

''Bullying is robbing children of their health and their childhood," Beane says. Even those children who observe bullying can be stressed and anxious, he says. Some also feel guilty if they don't help the victim.

Parents can become more aware of any potential problems, he says, by asking the school nurse to discuss with them their child's visits. He says parents can also be alert to behavior changes that may suggest a bullying problem. A child may become anxious, not want to go to school, complain of headaches, or drop out of favorite school activities.

Parents should also be aware of potential signs their child is becoming a bully, he says. Among them may be manipulative behavior, cruelty to animals, or being a sore loser.

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