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Is Bullying a Junior Hate Crime? Implications for Interventions



Hate crimes and bullying behaviors among children have similarities. Both often focus on “different” individuals as preferred targets, such as those from controversial groups (e.g., homosexuals). Thus, unequal power exists between a bully and his or her victim, and this dynamic precludes the use of equal-power interventions such as mediation. A second similarity is a lack of basic respect for all persons and the subsequent justification of violence against a particular person or group. A third similarity is the predominance of these behaviors among young (juvenile) offenders. These similarities between hate crimes and bullying in children may inform bullying-prevention efforts. Programs need to reduce bullying behaviors by focusing on tolerance of differences, the promotion of positive attitudes toward diversity, and negative attitudes toward hate-based victimization of people who may be different from the mainstream. The Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center's Anti-Bullying Program provides a model for this approach.
American Behavioral Scientist
The online version of this article can be found at:
DOI: 10.1177/0002764207306052
2007 51: 205American Behavioral Scientist
Elizabeth Englander
Is Bullying a Junior Hate Crime? Implications for Interventions
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American Behavioral Scientist
Volume 51 Number 2
October 2007 205-212
©2007 Sage Publications
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Is Bullying a Junior Hate Crime?
Implications for Interventions
Elizabeth Englander
Bridgewater State College, Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Hate crimes and bullying behaviors among children have similarities. Both often focus
on “different” individuals as preferred targets, such as those from controversial groups
(e.g., homosexuals). Thus, unequal power exists between a bully and his or her victim,
and this dynamic precludes the use of equal-power interventions such as mediation. A
second similarity is a lack of basic respect for all persons and the subsequent justifica-
tion of violence against a particular person or group. A third similarity is the predomi-
nance of these behaviors among young (juvenile) offenders. These similarities between
hate crimes and bullying in children may inform bullying-prevention efforts. Programs
need to reduce bullying behaviors by focusing on tolerance of differences, the promo-
tion of positive attitudes toward diversity, and negative attitudes toward hate-based vic-
timization of people who may be different from the mainstream. The Massachusetts
Aggression Reduction Center’s Anti-Bullying Program provides a model for this
Keywords: bullying; hate; prejudice; bias; violence; aggression; abuse
Under Massachusetts law, hate crimes are those crimes motivated by hatred against a
person or group on the basis of race, religion, disability, color, ethnic/national origin or
sexual orientation. Hate crimes can occur by a physical attack, intimidating or threat-
ening behavior that puts a person in fear of immediate physical harm or damage to
property, such as vandalism.
—Office of Norfolk County District Attorney William Keating (n.d.)
Is Bullying a Hate Crime?
Targets of hate crimes are chosen specifically for harassment and violence
because of their membership in a given group (such as an ethnicity or religion). The
prejudice that characterizes hate crime offenders appears to focus on those who are
“different” (American Psychological Association, 1998). In contrast, there are times
when bullying is leveled against children without regard to their group status—a
bully may choose a victim simply because he or she is available or momentarily vul-
nerable (Naumann, 2001). In those cases, bullying does not appear to fit under the
rubric of “hate crimes.”
206 American Behavioral Scientist
But it is noteworthy that the majority of the time, bullying appears to be a “junior”
or “apprentice” version of adult hate crimes. Both bullying behaviors and hate
crimes are predominantly committed by young individuals (Strom, 2001). A broad
research literature confirms that most bullying behaviors by children focus primar-
ily, if not exclusively, on children who have perceived differences (Naumann, 2001).
One area of confusion may be the definition of the word differences, which is, after
all, a relative term. What makes a particular child different, and from whom are they
different? Do children target those who are different only from themselves? Is the
“norm” against which children are compared schoolwide or society-wide? Do bul-
lies target those who are different from a mainstream, media-fed conception of what
and how people “ought” to be? Are all differences targeted equally, or do some place
children at particularly high risk of being targeted by a bully?
The strongest differences perceived by children may be differences from their
immediate mainstream—that is, bullies may choose as preferred targets those
children who are clearly different from the mainstream group of children in their
school and who are identified with a socially controversial group (such as students
who are self-identified as gay or lesbian). This characteristic clearly parallels juve-
nile hate crimes, which also focus on those who are “different” and “unwelcome”
(McDevitt, 1998, as cited in Mjoseth, 1998). Other targets for bullying may be
children who are vulnerable or less able to defend themselves; certainly many
researchers and authors have noted that children with special needs can be a strong
focus group (Connors & Stalker, 2002). Generally speaking, any obvious differences
seem to make children preferred targets, such as children of color in predominately
White schools or children who wear very different clothing (such as religious garb)
or who are from cultures other than mainstream middle-class America (Buchanan &
Winzer, 2001).
The selection of “obvious” targets mirrors hate crimes in that schoolyard bullies
often victimize children with differences that society has already identified as contro-
versial or even pejorative (e.g., Muslims or Jews, homosexuals, ethnic minority
groups). Jack McDevitt has characterized hate crimes as “message crimes” (McDevitt,
1998), and like bullying, they are the polar opposite of welcoming messages. But
although the majority of hate crimes focus on individuals from particular racial groups
(American Psychological Association, 1998), bullying may paint with a broader brush.
When it comes to bullying, less obviously different children may be targeted as well.
For example, children who excel academically are targeted but at apparently lower
rates, perhaps because their academic or ability differences are not always immediately
apparent or salient (Schuler, 2002). Similarly, I would place children in different social
circumstances in this latter group, such as children of divorced parents, children of
socially deviant parents, and so on.
Miami University’s (2001) policy states that “many individuals become targets of
hateful acts because others are unable to accept differences based on race, gender,
sexual orientation, religion, age, ethnicity or disability.” The bully, like the perpetrator
of a hate crime, is focusing on this “different” victim for a variety of reasons. First,
bullies are less likely to encounter social disapproval or stigma if they focus their
activities on a socially nonconforming individual. Second, their aim is to remind that
individual of his or her differences and thus to reinforce their own, conforming their
sense of belonging to the mainstream group. By reinforcing their own conformity
and thus their own superiority by conforming, they reinforce a superior status to all
conforming bystanders and help secure their noninterference, if not their active sup-
port, of the bullying activities. That they terrorize or humiliate or degrade the victim
may be secondary to their own desires to secure and upgrade their own social posi-
tions. Or they may be psychologically troubled enough to enjoy the social humilia-
tion of others (Englander, 2005a).
A second characteristic that is consistent between bullying and hate crimes is the
casual acceptance of language that would be offensive, and possibly prohibited, in
most workplaces today. Among American middle-class adults in the 21st century,
social mores have evolved sufficiently to make many uncomfortable with the verbal
abuse of those who do not conform, provided that nonconformity takes certain
acceptable forms (such as ethnicity, religion, and some social groups). Other types
of nonconformity among Americans are still not tolerated because, for example, they
may represent illegal or morally noxious behaviors (such as groups who support sex-
ual activity between adults and children). Still, the correct response even to
extremely deviant groups is generally perceived to be public debate or, in the case of
illegal behaviors, judicial prosecution. Simply berating, humiliating, harassing, or
abusing individuals is frowned on. These evolving social mores have resulted in
socially unprecedented legislation in the United States; these new laws criminalize
hate crimes, including some types of offensive speech (e.g., see the Massachusetts
Civil Rights Act).
Among children in the United States, however (and in western Europe, for that
matter), these social mores have either changed, have never developed, or are not
routinely applied to social behavior. Children growing up in 2005, half a century
after the birth of the civil rights movement in the United States, typically view ver-
bally berating or humiliating nonconforming peers as a “fact of life,” and parents
likewise see their children’s use of offensive slurs as normative (National Education
Association, 2003). A survey of teachers in 2004 found that offensive and insulting
language is a daily, if not hourly, occurrence at many middle and high schools
(Englander, 2005a). Many educators working in schools today who were reared on
the appropriateness of social tolerance and diversity are appalled by their perception of
rampant use of slurs and offensive language in teenage children (Englander, 2005a).
A third critical characteristic of both bullying and hate crimes is a complete rejec-
tion of the concept that broad civility and tolerance have positive social value. Far
from modeling respectful and civil behaviors to all, children who bully seem to
regard some children as legitimate targets. An interesting line of research suggests
that chronically aggressive children may in fact be misinterpreting ambiguous social
Englander / Is Bullying a Junior Hate Crime? 207
cues as hostile attacks and thus may see their own bullying behaviors toward certain
children as justifiable responses (and thus not as offensive; Dodge et al., 2003). Seen
in this context, bullies might regard their bullying behaviors as self-defense rather
than as uncivil or unjustified abuse of others (Englander, 2003).
It may also be the case that the nationwide emphases on other issues have diluted
public attention to this one, and we are seeing the results of such socialization
neglect. In schools, certainly, recent years have seen a dramatically increased focus
on academics and standardized testing—and with a limited number of hours and lim-
ited resources, it is only natural that some other lessons have had to go unlearned.
Parents, too, who have grown up assuming that all individuals are more tolerant than
in past generations, may have found tolerance to be so obvious as to not necessitate
deliberate teaching on this issue. The question is whether human beings have a
marked tendency toward intolerance in the absence of deliberate teaching to the con-
trary. Perhaps children are more inclined to develop such intolerance unless parents
and schools make a concerted effort to ensure that they are taught otherwise.
Clearly there are parallels between hate crimes and childhood bullying. What can
these similarities tell us about effective approaches to reducing bullying behaviors
between children?
First, the issue of tolerance and respect needs to be an important part of any
antibullying effort. Young children represent an opportunity. Education and aware-
ness efforts can readily work positive effects on their behavior (as has happened
with previous social campaigns, such as antismoking efforts). Along this vein, many
bullying-prevention programs do include tolerance and respect among the curricu-
lum goals covered. As an example, the No Bullying Program (Title & Leonard, n.d.)
has as one of its major goals “Civility Rules.” Many other antibullying programs
similarly include respect and tolerance as central themes (Naumann, 2001).
A second lesson in bullying prevention that can be gleaned from society’s
approach to hate crimes is the potential use of mediation, even peer mediation (in
which mediators are other children), in attempting to resolve bullying episodes.
Although the use of mediation within the criminal justice system has steadily gained
in popularity, hate crimes have typically not been perceived as crimes well suited to
mediation. Although bullying between children is rarely as violent as, say, the 1995
bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City (an action that resulted
in no fewer than 168 innocent dead), bullying between children bears enough of the
hallmarks of hate crimes to render mediation a controversial technique (at best).
One reason that bullying is often regarded (like hate crimes) as unsuitable for
mediation is the power differential that exists between bully and victim. This power
differential is not always obvious or appreciated by adults, who may confuse bullying
with conflict. Most bullying prevention programs in use today in schools in the United
States are based on the principals originally authored by Daniel Olweus (1991, 1993).
Out of Olweus’s basic research in Norway and the United States has emerged a
plethora of programs, focusing on conflict resolution, bullying prevention, or both.
208 American Behavioral Scientist
One unfortunate side effect of this large and relatively new applied literature is a
tendency to assume that bullying prevention and conflict resolution are in fact iden-
tical goals. Research suggests otherwise (Tutty et al., 2002). Although one might
include bullying incidents under the rubric “conflict,” it remains very important to
appreciate the distinction and psychological differences between relatively equal-
power conflicts between children and bullying behaviors, which are categorized by an
unequal power structure and are therefore more abusive and victimizing in their nature.
Educators in the United States today are encouraged to use mediation techniques
in addressing student conflicts, particularly at the high school and middle school
levels. Some teachers are incorporating conflict resolution and mediation and nego-
tiation techniques into standard curriculum (Stevahn, 2004). Research has generally
found a high level of satisfaction with peer mediation programs in school-based set-
tings (Burrell, Zirbel, & Allen, 2003). Programs that include teacher training have
often emphasized the role that teachers can take in using mediation and negotiation
between children who are in conflict (Rubin, 2004). There has been a definitive trend
toward training students and teachers to use mediation as the best method to resolve
conflict in schools (Casella, 2000).
The very real success of this trend, in general, discourages critical evaluation of the
effectiveness of mediation and negotiation in different types of conflicts between
students. However, researchers have discovered that several factors significantly
inhibit the use of mediation in schools (Theberge & Karan, 2004). One such factor
appears to be conflicts that involve bullying (Englander, 2005b; Theberge & Karan,
Mediation and negotiation generally assume that two children in conflict possess
relatively equal power, but bullying episodes are defined by their imbalance of
power (Olweus, 1991). Theberge and Karan (2004) note that “power imbalances
inhibit the use of mediation” (p. 287). This power imbalance renders mediation and
negotiation often inappropriate for both the bully and the target. Although many
educators have long approached conflict in children through the use of mediation
and negotiation, discipline through limit setting may be the only effective means of
encouraging children to cease bullying others. Although aggressive children may
(in part) behave that way because of past exposure to inconsistent discipline,
research suggests that firm limit setting is the primary means of changing aggres-
sive behavior toward peers. Because of this, it is critical for educators to appreciate
the distinctions between bullying and conflict and the appropriate programs to
address each type of aggressive behavior.
Summary and Conclusion
Bullying prevention can learn from its association with hate crimes. In addition
to antibullying education and techniques, preventative programs both need to teach
Englander / Is Bullying a Junior Hate Crime? 209
an appreciation and understanding of the unsuitability of unequal-power conflicts for
mediation and should include a focus on tolerance and diversity. Such factors may
be more important than equal-power conflict resolution skills, if the aim is to reduce
bullying and abusive behaviors. Conflict resolution skills remain critical for coping
with equal-power conflicts.
At the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center (MARC) at Bridgewater State
College, we have found that faculty, staff, administration, and parents are highly recep-
tive to understanding the power inequalities inherent in bullying and how these
inequalities must guide adult responses to bullying (
For example, in training teachers and administrators, we emphasize that adults
should not expect victims to readily report on bullying, especially in the presence of
a bully, because of their fear of retribution. We also teach adults to involve victims
in discipline as little as possible, because such involvement is often highly intimi-
dating for children and can be an actual deterrent to further reporting. As an
example, bullies should not be asked to apologize to their victims; although such
apologies may appear appropriate, they can serve as actual or perceived threats and
may reinforce, for victims, the idea that telling adults “only makes it worse.
Young children are also highly receptive to messages about tolerance and respect,
and our most interesting observation during the 1st year of the MARC program was
the intense interest adolescents displayed regarding issues of respect and diversity.
As part of our program in middle and high schools, we send trained college students
to facilitate conversations about bullying behaviors teens are seeing in their own
social groups. The college student–facilitators are a critical factor in this program,
because teens typically have great respect and admiration for them, see them as high-
status peers, and thus readily discuss with them the bullying they see in their own
schools and among their own friends. We usually begin the conversation by asking
students to describe the problems they are seeing in their own schools. Although we
ask the students for their perceptions, in fact, our experiences have made us very
aware of what the students are likely to report. Notably, in almost every school,
teenagers begin by describing failures to tolerate and respect differences. They usu-
ally do not use the terms hate crime or diversity, but this is in fact what they describe.
The groups who are not tolerated vary somewhat from community to community,
but they frequently involve students of other races, students who self-identify as gay
or lesbian, students who are from lower social classes, and students who excel aca-
demically or belong to “unpopular” groups or clubs at school.
Perhaps bullying has flourished among children because of a lack of emphasis
about the importance of tolerance and respect for diversity among adults, the inappro-
priate use of mediation in bullying episodes, and/or a lack of understanding regarding
the distinction between equal-power and unequal-power conflicts. If so, addressing
such issues with adults and children can begin to dismantle the “apprenticeship” of
hate crimes.
210 American Behavioral Scientist
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Englander / Is Bullying a Junior Hate Crime? 211
Elizabeth Englander is a professor of psychology and the founder and director of the Massachusetts
Aggression Reduction Center at Bridgewater State College, a center that delivers antiviolence and antibul-
lying programs for the state of Massachusetts. She is a nationally recognized expert in the area of bully-
ing, childhood causes of violence and aggression, child development, and characteristics of juvenile and
adult violent offenders. She is the author of more than two dozen articles in journals and books and the
author of Understanding Violence, a text in the field of child development, biological psychology, and
violent criminal behavior, which was recently released in its third edition.
212 American Behavioral Scientist
... Because of challenges that impede the criminalization of bullying, other approaches should be considered. For example, researchers have compared bullying behaviors to other forms of interpersonal violence that are addressed at both state and federal levels including hate crimes (Englander, 2007; U.S. Department of Justice, 2018), stalking (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2013), or discriminatory harassment when the offense is based on race, national origin, race, religion, sex, age, or disability (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). ...
... Indeed, bullying behaviors are like hate crimes because both types of perpetrators target their victims for being different from others and because there is an unequal balance of power between both parties (Englander, 2007). Because of these dynamics, a lack of respect can manifest between persons and subsequently lead perpetrators to justify the violent behavior. ...
... Therefore, mediation interventions can be ineffective and a more punitive approach to handling offenders may be warranted (Englander, 2007). ...
... However, hate speech directed at an individual is not considered criminal behavior in the USA (Moshman, 2020). This is notable because a significant proportion of bias-based victimization is verbal in nature (e.g., harassment, name-calling, threats) or happens in the context of a bullying incident (Birkett et al., 2009;Englander, 2007;Larochette et al., 2010;Mulvey et al., 2018;Rosenthal et al., 2015). Even if bullying incidents include criminal elements, they are typically handled as a school discipline concern and not reported to law enforcement (Patchin & Hinduja, 2018). ...
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While research knowledge of bias-based bullying is increasing, there has been only limited research comparing in-person and online bias-based victimization incidents. The current study presents data on 521 bias-based incidents experienced by a large sample of youth (n = 854), 13–21 years old, examining differences between incidents that occurred solely online, solely in-person, or both online and in-person. Specifically, we examined whether the three types of incidents differed by: (a) respondents’ sociodemographic characteristics (i.e., gender, race/ethnicity, immigrant status, religion, any disability, sexual orientation); (b) incident-level characteristics (i.e., victimization type, perpetrator relationship, number of perpetrators, physical injury, any weapon used, duration of the incident, location of the incident, and disclosure); and (c) negative impact (emotional distress, school-related problems, and physical symptoms). Results indicated that online-only bias-based victimization incidents occurred less frequently, and impacted victims less negatively, than either in-person only or combined online/in-person bias victimization. Incidents that were a mix of online and in-person bias-based victimization were the most distressing type of incident for youth, even controlling for other aggravating features (e.g., the number of perpetrators). Findings highlight the importance of asking vulnerable youth about the context of bias-based victimization they may have experienced and suggest that prevention initiatives will need to incorporate strategies to address the different environments in which bias-based victimization incidents occur.
... Attention is a general reaction of the organism and consciousness that causesincreased activity, concentration and limitation of an object. Based on table 11 The results of this study are in line with the research of [1], Indarto (2012), and [11], which concluded that learning styles significantly influence student achievement. ...
... Perilaku bullying dipandang sebagai masalah hubungan sosial, maka meningkatkan fungsi sosial merupakan elemen kunci dalam mereduksi perilaku bullying (Swearer dkk, 2009). Menurut Englander (2007) program intervensi bullying perlu mereduksi perilaku bullying dengan berfokus pada toleransi terhadap perbedaan dan menampilkan sikap positif dalam berperilaku. Sebagian besar perilaku yang ditunjukkan oleh pelaku bullying dapat dikatakan bahwa mereka kurang memiliki keterampilan sosial dalam berinteraksi dengan lingkungan sosialnya. ...
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Salah satu tindak kekerasan yang sering terjadi di sekolah adalah bullying. Permasalahan bullying tidak hanya dialami oleh siswa di sekolah regular, melainkan banyak pula yang terjadi pada siswa di sekolah inklusi khususnya terhadap siswa berkebutuhan khusus. Bullying merupakan salah satu bentuk permasalahan hubungan sosial, yang disebabkan oleh rendahnya keterampilan sosial yang dimiliki oleh pelaku. Maka salah satu cara yang diprediksi dapat mereduksi yakni dengan meningkatkan fungsi sosial melalui program intervensi berupa social skills training. Tujuan dari penelitian adalah untuk melihat efektivitas social skills training dalam mereduksi intensitas bullying pada remaja. Partisipan dalam penelitian ini berjumlah tiga orang yang berada pada rentang usia remaja. Partisipan merupakan pelaku bullying pada jenjang sekolah menengah pertama di salah satu sekolah inklusi. Partisipan akan mengikuti social skills training selama enam sesi yang berdurasi sekitar 90-120 menit tiap sesinya. Penelitian ini menggunakan single case experiment design, dengan pengumpulan data dilakukan dengan teknik wawancara, observasi, dan juga self-report melalui pengisian skala perilaku bullying dan skala keterampilan sosial. Hasil analisis menunjukkan bahwa social skills training memiliki pengaruh pada penurunan intensitas bullying, hanya saja penurunan tidak terjadi secara signifikan. Penanganan permasalahan bullying sebaiknya tidak hanya ditujukan kepada pelaku ataupun korban, melainkan dengan whole-school approach, sehingga pihak sekolah dan orang tua dapat turut serta dalam penanggulangan masalah bullying yang terjadi.
... In her piece on similarities between bullying and hate crimes, Elizabeth Englander, a cyberbullying scholar and the director of the Massachusetts Aggression Reduction Center, draws parallels between the two. While Massachusetts has both hate crimes and bullying laws that include cyberbullying, she proposes that instead of focusing on punishment, the similarities between hate crimes and bullying should be used to inform prevention efforts emphasizing tolerance of differences, promotion of positive attitudes toward diversity, and reduction of negative attitudes toward hate-based victimization of children outside of the mainstream (Englander, 2007). ...
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This chapter provides a more elaborate review and a critical examination of research findings about digital bullying, drawing from an interdisciplinary literature. In light of these findings, it critically analyzes media coverage of e-safety, online risks and harms, which digital bullying is an example of, as well as moral and technopanics –exaggerated concerns over youth use of technology and the consequences that emerge under such circumstances for various stakeholders. This chapter also builds the case for considering protection from digital bullying in the context of children’s rights. Wider social and cultural problems that remain less discussed in public discourse on digital bullying are given special attention to, building the case as to why it is important to address the culture of humiliation, focusing attention on dignity, rather than engaging in simplistic binaries of finger-pointing that are so often witnessed in the aftermaths of digital bullying cases.
... Hatred may often be reflected in different behavioural forms, such as oppression, discrimination, bullying [29][30][31], abuse, harassment [32][33][34], threats of rape [35], incitement, offline violence threats [36] and misogyny [37], etc. The form of hatred will result in the form of violence [38][39][40][41][42]. ...
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Mobile devices with social media applications are the prevalent user equipment to generate and consume digital hate content. The objective of this paper is to propose a mobile edge computing architecture for regulating and reducing hate content at the user's level. In this regard, the profiling of hate content is obtained from the results of multiple studies by quantitative and qualitative analyses. Profiling resulted in different categories of hate content caused by gender, religion, race, and disability. Based on this information, an architectural framework is developed to regulate and reduce hate content at the user's level in the mobile computing environment. The proposed architecture will be a novel idea to reduce hate content generation and its impact.
Bullying is a socially and culturally complex phenomenon that until now has largely been understood in the context of the individual. This book challenges the dominance of this approach, examining the processes of extreme exclusion that are enacted in bullying - whether at school, through face-to-face meetings or virtual encounters - in the context of group dynamics. Contributors draw upon qualitative empirical studies, mixed methods and statistics, to analyse the elements that allow bullying to emerge - the processes that produce exclusion and contempt, and the relations between children, teachers and parents. Introducing a new definition of bullying, this book goes on to discuss directions for future research and action, including more informed intervention strategies and re-thinking methods of prevention. Exploring bullying in the light of the latest research from a wide variety of disciplines, this book paves the way for a new paradigm through which to understand the field.
This chapter focuses on how hate crime is conceptualized in America. Hate crime is deconstructed into two components – bias motivation and criminal offenses – and discussion is provided for how each component is conceptualized. We begin by explaining what bias motivation entails and how it is legally defined. Bias motivation categories are distinguished from bias types, and definitions are provided for the bias motivation categories recognized by the Hate Crime Statistics Act (1990). The conceptualization of bias motivation relevant to perception and association is addressed along with the idea of intersectionality or multiple bias. Regarding the crime component of hate crimes, we clarify the difference between bias incidents and hate crime. Examples of how criminal behaviors are defined as hate crimes are provided, and offenses common to hate crime identified and described. We discuss how there can be different victim types depending upon the type of hate crime committed. The chapter is concluded by showing how hate crime can be cross-classified or misclassified with other types of criminal behaviors. The topics covered in this chapter are designed to provide foundational knowledge for the conceptualization of hate crime and how this translates to its measurement.
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Schools have increasingly been implementing peer mediation programs as a way to help students find peaceful means for resolving conflicts (Casella, 2000). Peer mediation is a process in which students that have been taught a structured, step-by-step model assist others to peacefully negotiate solutions to their interpersonal conflicts. In spite of its popularity (Casella; Gerber, 1999), little is known about the underlying factors that help peer mediation programs succeed and those that hamper or actually impede them. Little formal evaluation has been done on either the impact these programs have had on reducing violence or on the quality of these programs. Much of the success that is reported by trainers is anecdotal (Miller, 1994; Tolan & Guerra, 1994; Webster, 1993; Wilson-Brewer, Cohen, O'Donnell, & Goodman, 1991). Although peer mediation programs have a considerable amount of face validity, research indicates that bullying and verbal abuse have shown no signs of decreasing over time (Banks, 1997). Because of the growing concern about the prevalence of interpersonal conflicts among students and the popularity of peer mediation as a means of addressing this issue, there is a need for research that can add to our current state of knowledge about such interventions. This article summarizes the results of a year-long qualitative, descriptive study--using interviews and surveys as the primary methodology--of one peer mediation program in a junior high school. It identifies six factors inhibiting the use of a peer mediation program in a culturally diverse junior high school. Recommendations for strengthening school-based peer mediation programs are drawn from the data.
In this third edition of Understanding Violence, author Elizabeth Kandel Englander draws on contemporary research and theory in varied fields to present a uniquely balanced, integrated, and readable summary of what we currently know about the causes and effects of violence, particularly its effect on children. The goal of this textbook is to give a critical review of the most relevant and important areas of research on street and family violence, examining why it is that people become violent. Between 1994 and 2004 the United States benefited from a dramatic decline in rates of violent crime. However, as the economy has weakened in recent years and tougher times have returned, the crime rate has shown signs of a modest increase. Understanding Violence comes at this important juncture. The text is arranged into two sections, one of which focuses on broader issues, and another centering on specific types of abuse. This new edition will be a powerful text for all those interested in violent offenders and their victims.
Although bullying in the schools appears to be a pervasive and long-standing problem, it is only recently that researchers have directed attention to bullying a part of violent and aggressive behaviour. This study sought the perceptions of children in a rural school district on various aspects of bullying. Discussions included whether children had been bullied, whether they had bullied others, and the characteristics of bullies and victims. Results with a small sample of children in a rural setting are consistent with the literature on bullying and indicate few differences between urban and rural areas.
All students can be taught how to manage conflicts constructively by integrating training into the existing school curriculum. This article describes a practical and effective approach to curriculum-integrated conflict resolution training that involves students in repeatedly using integrative negotiation and peer mediation procedures to resolve diverse conflicts found in subject matter. Research results indicate that this approach to conflict training not only enables students to learn, use, and develop more positive attitudes toward conflict resolution, it also enhances academic achievement.
Much research on the topic of violence prevention tends to survey the effectiveness of programs, including peer mediation, without attention to how programs are instituted and maintained in schools. This study of a high school peer mediation program examines several aspects of the process including the training of student mediators, the curriculum, the dynamics of actual mediation sessions, and the comments of mediators and trainers as they described the process. Peer mediation defines conflict in a way that prevents examination of certain conflict issues, especially those related to inequity and prejudice. Whereas peer mediation is designed to resolve conflicts in schools, it is the mediators themselves who benefit most from the programs—not the disputants.
Communities that enjoy a safe school work hard to inform themselves about what it might look and feel like, how a safe school sounds. They work hard to identify the elements of policy, school community involvement, professional development, curriculum, instruction, school and classroom management, and support and referral that comprise the infrastructure of a discipline system and healthy school climate. Communities that enjoy a safe school learn about leadership, collaboration, and how the process of change operates. Reaching out to the research base in this way is a labor intensive endeavor and takes a long time. But it is worth it. Safe schools do more than earn their money's worth. A safe school returns a sense of connection, competence, autonomy, and altruism to all those it touches. And as a result, it is where people want to live and work and where small and large businesses like to locate. A wide range of research and best practices inform the development of positive school climates. The author provides a tool for exploring important factors which underlay safe and effective schools.