Faculty conversations: Glenn Stutzky
Glenn Stutzky helps students, parents and educators work together to reduce bullying.
About 15 years ago, it was difficult for him to go into a school to address bullying because schools did not want to acknowledge it was occurring or be known for having a problem.
"Fast forward 15 years later, and we’ve made tremendous progress," said Stutzky, a clinical instructor in the School of Social Work. "Most schools are not sticking their heads in the sand anymore. They want to be proactive."
Through his research, Stutzky found that girls are often the biggest bullies in a school, and that girls and boys bully in different ways.
"Girls oftentimes will use nonverbal forms of bullying through looks, through text messages, through things using technology where they’re not actually physically hitting another girl, but the pain goes deep," he said.
A trend in bullying is the increase of cyberbullying. Bullying is no longer taking place only at school — but on the way home and at home in the form of text messages and social networking sites. Children are increasingly being bullied in virtual games as well, which is a concern because they spend hours playing online games, Stutzky said.
"It's like they're electronically tethered to their tormentor," he said.
He emphasized that technology in and of itself is neither a good nor a bad thing – parents simply need to visit the websites their children are on to know whether they’re safe.
Stutzky has recently been researching bullying and civil rights, and how the federal government’s Title IX anti-discrimination laws may be used to protect students from bullying.
In the end, building relationships and creating a caring environment is most effective in reducing incidents of bullying. Students are great resources in dealing with these issues.
"They have creative ideas, they understand what’s going on, and by and large, they want to do something about it," Stutzky said. "They need the adults to stand behind them and support them."