Dr. Joel Haber has bee invited to participate in the U.S Traveling Speaker Program.
From October 7-12, 2013, Dr. Haber will be speaking to the South Korean people about bullying prevention.
In Korea, bullying became an issue of general concern in the 1980s. Young people say that bullying is one of the biggest problems they face. Bullying does not target only those that are different because of their race, ethnicity, class or disability. It happens to those who are simply “different,” in some way, such as having a different back-pack, a prettier pencil case, wearing a skirt instead of pants, and so on. A victim can become a bully the next day and a victim again the following week.
The negative effect of bullying on the entire school environment as well as the harmful impact on the victims, bullies, and witnesses has been well documented. The Korean National Commission on Youth Protection found that 10.7% of elementary school students, 5.6% of middle school students and 3.3% of high school students have been bullied. Of the 174 victims of bullying that have been counseled, 5 have tried to commit suicide, 13 have received psychiatric treatment, 63 have refused to go school and 93 “have felt desperate” in school life.
Another domestic report in Korea found that bullied students suffer greatly. Among them, 46.6% of students feel malice and desire revenge against the bullies; 16% hated and physically abused themselves; 14.1% are in mental state of panic; 8.4% are frequently absent from school; 4.3% committed suicide or ran away from home; 3.2% suffer from hypochondria and 3.2% experience social phobia. There has been much research on bullying prevention in various countries on the “what,” “why,” “who,” and “where,” but the “how” to prevent this is still in a hole.
As the issue of bullying and school violence is becoming an international issue, ways to resolve and find good solutions through dialogue and sharing case studies are becoming more available. The experience the United States has had in dealing with the issue, specifically in terms of programs and counseling, would be of great interest and benefit to Korean educators and administrators working in the field. The speaker program would create an opportunity for shared experiences between U.S. and Korean students, parents, and educators, and emphasize the importance of diversity and equal rights for all, including for those with disabilities.