Two events in 1999 marked a turning point in the recognition of bullying as a major societal problem in the United States. First, the Columbine High School shooting, which was widely regarded in the press as actions of vengeful victims of bullying. Equally important, but less prominent in the media, was the U.S. Supreme Court`s decision in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education, which concluded that schools can be held liable for failing to stop sexual harassment between students. The medical or physical risk factor includes a number of conditions that, as a group, predict violence. Early prenatal and postnatal complications, a more specific set of disorders, have conflicting effects in a number of studies (Hawkins et al., 1998c). These complications include a large group of genetic disorders or physical damage to the brain and nervous system that interfere with normal development, including low birth weight, lack of oxygen, and exposure to toxins such as lead, alcohol, or drugs (Hawkins et al., 1998b). Low resting heart rate, a condition that has been studied primarily in boys, is associated with fearlessness or stimulation-seeking, both of which may predispose them to aggression and violence (Raine et al., 1997; Hawkins et al., 1998c), but there is insufficient evidence to establish that this condition is a risk factor for violence.
Some studies have even questioned its effects on aggression (Van Hulle et al., 2000; Wadsworth, 1976; Kindlon et al., 1995). There is also no evidence that internalizing disorders – nervousness and withdrawal, anxiety and worry – are related to later violence (Hawkins et al., 1998c). Because bullying may be more likely among certain groups of people, about one-third of state bullying laws list characteristics (such as gender, race, national origin, religion, disability, and sexual orientation) that may characterize victims of bullying. There has been debate about whether it is wise to list protected groups or characteristics in bullying laws. Proponents argue that identifying specific groups sends a clear message to school staff about the need to protect students most vulnerable to bullying, and some evidence suggests that anti-bullying policies that count protected youth groups may be associated with fewer suicide attempts among lesbian and gay teens. A more inclusive approach is to list the groups most at risk of bullying, but explicitly recognize in the law that all forms of bullying against students are prohibited. At least six states have determined that schools must provide equal protection from bullying to all students, regardless of their legal status or protected class membership. A recent reanalysis of previous data revealed two proposed protective factors that appear to mitigate the risk of violence – an intolerant attitude towards deviance and commitment to school. These two factors appear to exert a statistically significant, albeit small, buffering effect on the risk of violence, but until these results are replicated, they should be considered provisional. Deliberate aggression is broadly inclusive and means that bullying can be physical, verbal or social. As a result, bullying can overlap with many other behaviours such as criminal assault, extortion, hate crimes, and sexual harassment. But in its milder forms, bullying can be hard to distinguish from ordinary teasing, horse play, or conflict.
In terms of social or relational bullying, it can be difficult to draw the line between children`s friendship conflicts and painful social ostracism. A recent meta-analysis of these studies found that the overall effect size for randomised and correlational trials was small (r = 0.19) and moderate for aggressive thinking (r = 0.27) for randomised and correlational trials (Anderson and Bushman, in press). In separate analyses, the effect size was small for randomised and cross-sectional studies (r = 0.18 and 19, respectively). The impact of video games on violent behavior remains to be determined. Although almost all states require the development of school policies against bullying, we know little about their implementation or effectiveness. School policy must comply with the legal requirements of state anti-bullying laws, but must also reflect best practices based on scientific research. However, it could be argued that harassment under civil rights laws implies the existence of a power imbalance in the notion that certain groups (defined by gender, race, religion, national origin or disability) must be protected.