What bullies grow up to become

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What bullies grow up to become

When we think about what bullies become as they grow up, they can become lawyers, CEOs, professors, and a small percentage of them will grow up to engage in some sort of criminal behavior. It is a small percentage. Unfortunately, we have linked bullying, in some sense, with criminality, in order to get the schools to pay attention to bullying. To think that bullies would actual go on to become criminals would make them pay attention. The problem with that is how many parents want to think they are raising a criminal? If we have 17 percent of our school population that are bullies, wouldn't it be better to think that I am raising a child with really good leadership skills that got misdirected, somehow, in the schools. Maybe kids are making bad decisions to tease someone else, when, in fact, they just want to be popular. Do bullies become criminals? Absolutely, not always.

See Dorothy Espelage's video on What bullies grow up to become...


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Dorothy Espelage

Professor of Child Development

Dorothy L. Espelage, PhD, is a Professor of Child Development in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.  She is a University Scholar and has fellow status in Division 17 (Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association.  She earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Indiana University in 1997. She has conducted research on bullying, homophobic teasing, sexual harassment, and dating violence for the last 18 years. As a result, she presents regularly at regional, national, and international conferences and is author on over 90 professional publications.  She is co-editor of four published books including Bullying in North American Schools: A Social-Ecological Perspective on Prevention and Intervention and International Handbook of Bullying published by Routledge. She is Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology. She has presented thousands of workshops and in-service training seminars for teachers, administrators, counselors, and social workers across the U.S.  Her research focuses on translating empirical findings into prevention and intervention programming.  She is currently funded by the CDC for a randomized clinical trial of a bullying prevention program in 36 middle schools. She authored a 2011 White House Brief on bullying among LGBTQ youth and attended the White House Conference in 2011. She is also funded by National Science Foundation to develop better methods to assess bullying among adolescents and CDC and NIJ are funding a longitudinal study of predictors of bullying and dating violence among adolescents. Dr. Espelage has appeared on many television news and talk shows, including The Today Show; CNN; CBS Evening News; The Oprah Winfrey Show, Anderson, Anderson 360 and has been quoted in the national print press, including Time Magazine, USA Today, People, Boston Globe, and the Wall Street Journal. Her dedicated team of undergraduate and graduate students are committed to the dissemination of the research through various mechanisms.

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