Working Together to Spread the Word:'s Special Edition on Bullying

Updated on Feb 11, 2009
An Interview with Guest Editors Shelly Hymel, Ph.D. and Susan Swearer, Ph.D.

Bullying is an ever-present problem in the lives of school kids. There is not a day that goes by where we don't hear from parents about a cruel bullying story - the 1st Grade Boy trapped in the Boys Bathroom, the 3rd Grade girl who is excluded from her former friends during every recess, the 5th Grade Boy who came home with a sign taped to his back that read "call me weirdo," or the 8th Grade girl who was the victim of an untrue rumor that she had sex. This could be your child-one out of three students are bullied every year. Parents of bystanders, children who bully, and victims all must take a proactive stand against these statistics by getting involved in their school and in their community. 

The movement to dispel bullying has already begun. Parents teach their children tolerance and try to provide a stable, secure home environment; teachers and school administrators work to put policies in place to keep bullying out of their schools; top scholars focus research on the root causes of this behavior.

And yet there is a disconnect.  Parents, administrators, and academics rarely have the opportunity for a roundtable discussion.  Parents know what goes on in their homes, but less about what goes on in the schools, and even less about the groundbreaking research being done at colleges and universities all over the world. Our hope at is that this Special Edition will provide some insight into what can be done to combat the destructive behaviors and conditions that cause bullying. Thus, we've partnered with the American Association of School Administrators in hopes of reaching as many parents as we can with this quick guide. If you have further comments or questions about how to combat bullying, please write to us.

Guest editors Shelley Hymel, Ph.D. (Professor and Chair of the Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology, and Special Education at The University of British Columbia) and Susan Swearer, Ph.D. (Associate Professor, Licensed Psychologist, and Co-Director of the Nebraska Internship Consortium in Professional Psychology) took some time to answer a few questions about bullying and's Special Edition on this topic.

What drew you to working on our Special Edition on Bullying?

Shelley Hymel:

Parents have no access to a lot of this information.  Researchers from all over the world are studying and examining this problem, but parents never see the end result.  This is an opportunity to bring this important work to the people.

Susan Swearer:

I think that's special edition on bullying is a perfect venue for translating research into practice. We know a lot about bullying behaviors from the excellent researchers in this field. However, most of these researchers publish their research in academic journals that the lay public typically doesn't read. Therefore, this special edition is a wonderful opportunity to "spread the word" about what we know about bullying and victimization to the public.

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