Is Bullying a Junior Hate Crime? Implications for Interventions

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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.

Original Citation

Englander, E.K. (2007).IsBullying a Junior Hate Crime? Implications for Interventions. American Behavioral Scientist, 51(2), 205-212. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764207306052