Workers bullied on basis of looks

For the first time, a research links looks with office bullying. The results are not pretty.

A study of 114 workers at a health-care facility in the Southeast showed that those considered by others to be unattractive were bullied or belittled more often then others.

The unattractive workers were treated much more harshly than attractive employees, even when other factors such as age, gender and tenure were taken into account.

The lead investigator on the study was Brent Scott, Michigan State University associate professor of management. The study’s co-author was co-author was Timothy Judge of Notre Dame.

You can read more on MSU Today.

Slate’s Emily Bazelon Takes On Bullying in ‘Sticks and Stones’

A new book by Slate senior editor Emily Bazelon is worth a read if you’re concerned about bullying.

“Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy” takes the issue around the corner, beyond bullying and toward solutions. Many books try to do that, as we did in “The New Bullying,” but Bazelon seems to have built her book around the solution, rather than the problem.

An attorney with long experience in the social and legal consequences of bullying among teens, she has done a good job of advancing the debate, both in the book and on the circuit.

The book is getting mostly favorable reviews, but it is also opening conversations with people who see things differently than she does. And that is to be expected on this subject.

National Anti-Bullying Month is October

Several groups are rallying around October as a time to raise awareness about anti-bullying efforts.

A key component of modern bullying and a key emphasis of “The New Bullying” is cyberbullying, and that has played a role in two current cases.

* In Canada, 15-year-old Amanda Todd made a video detailing the ways she was bullied. Her story, reported by the Associated Press and others, includes videos, sexting, emails, Facebook bullying and physical violence. She took her life Oct. 10, a day that had been designated for people to wear pink in support of bullying victims.

* In Maryland, a 15-year-old boy was charged with assault for bullying a high school student who was about to be interviewed by a television news crew on Oct. 8 about years of bullying he had suffered. The bullying was caught on camera.

* Early in October, Wisconsin news anchor Jennifer Livingston read an email on air that a viewer had written, telling her that she was obese and socially irresponsible for appearing that way. She made an issue of the bullying and spoke about the issue on national TV.

— Joe Grimm

Bullying targets autism, report says

A report released Monday says that the bullying of autism-spectrum students is a “profound public health problem.”

The study was conducted by Paul R. Sterzing, assistant professor at the school of social welfare at the University of California-Berkeley.

Sterzing said that students diagnosed with Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder were also singled out for bullying.

The report was released in Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. It said that the students most likely to be targeted are those who are in mainstream classes but whose behaviors make them stand out to other children.

The New York Times Health & Science report on the study

Comic hero stands up to bullying

Kurt created an epic anti-bullying adventure for The Cardinal—whose alter ego is a mild-mannered high school student who sometimes is a target for bullies. The lengthy comic adventure involves the Cardinal facing the torments of bullies himself, plus sub-plots about several other young people who face various forms of abuse and react in different ways. One former victim turns himself into a super villain bent on revenge, which is an additional tragic outcome of bullying.

Career Coach addresses bullies at work

The Washington Post’s Career Coach has a column up with advice about addressing bullies in the workplace.

Writer Joyce E.A. Russell keys off the 2011 book, “The Bully-Free Workplace: Stop Jerks, Weasels, and Snakes From Killing Your Organization,” by Gary and Ruth Namie, then addresses the definition of workplace bullying and some behaviors. Russell says the solution lies in stronger bosses and policies.

In the United States, the concern over bullying began with schools and has moved on to other areas. In other places, such as the United Kingddom, anti-bullying movements actual began with workplace bullying.

7-year-old’s suicide blamed on bullying

The Detroit Free Press reports today that a 7-year-old Detroit boy who took his own life had been bullied.

The article, by a team of reporters, said, “The mother told police that her son ‘had been depressed due to her recent separation from his father; the fact that he had been bullied continuously by the children at school, in addition to the constant teasing that he had endured because he was the only boy in the home of eight females,’ a report says.”

In a related article, Detroit City Councilwoman Saunteel Jenkins said the boy’ death indicates the need for a anti-bullying laws like the one she had proposed and that the city recently enacted.

Competition and bullying — not the same

In a Detroit News commentary, “Losses in sports help kids learn not to act like losers,” sports author John U. Bacon writes about a neighborhood event in which “competition was confused with bullying, which schools are rightly focused on eradicating. But the two could not be more different. Competition, properly taught, teaches respect, fair play and good sportsmanship — the exact opposite of bullying.”