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Choosing sources to give insight about a bullying story can be difficult—especially on deadline. But a qualified expert can mean the difference between a well-reported story and one that aggravates the situation or increases misperceptions.
The most important thing to remember is not all people who are willing to comment have equal expertise. Potential sources could be advocates, practitioners, researchers, parents, or students. Some come from fields related to bullying, such as education. Others have personal experience with the pain of bullying or even suicide. Some can tell of local successes. All of these people can provide valuable perspectives. However, bullying is a complex phenomenon. Most bullying situations defy simple answers and easy explanations. Without checking with an expert who has deep knowledge of bullying prevention, you risk giving partial, dated, or false information.
Bullying Prevention Expert Checklist
To find someone who truly understands the nuances of bullying, look for these key attributes:
- Has completed advanced studies in a social science or other field related to bullying
- Engaged currently in professional activities that are directly related to bullying
- Has published recently on the subject of bullying in a reputable academic journal or professional publication
- Has presented at professional or academic conferences on bullying or related topic
- Knows and understands the generally accepted definition of bullying including that it is a pattern of behavior versus a single incident and that the roles of the youth involved are complex
- Isn’t quick to criminalize behavior, demonize, or exalt either side in any particular incident
- Understands the problems facing both those who are bullied and those who bully
- Does not state that bullying or any other single factor caused a suicide
- Can cite reliable statistics related to occurrences of bullying
- Is not selling a product or service related to bullying prevention