Univ. of Iowa researcher shares findings on bullying over masks

Some schools in Iowa are trying to teach students to respect someone else's choice to wear a mask or not. It comes as part of National Bullying Prevention Month
Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 10:22 AM CDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - As a part of National Bullying Prevention Month, researchers say they are noticing something new on intimidation in schools.

“Anytime there is stress, new behaviors, unanticipated situations that are stressful, it really does set up an avenue for bullying,” said UI College of Public Health Associate Dean of Research, Dr. Corinne Peek-Asa.

She says an example of those “unanticipated behaviors” is the pandemic and the safety measures that have come with it... like mask wearing. In her research she found school administrators and business leaders do recognize this and are taking steps to prevent it.

“It is negative to productivity and worker engagement, so there are programs employers are adopting to help prevent bullying in the workplace,” said Dr. Peek-Asa.

In Solon, Superintendent Davis Eidahl says he and the rest of the school staff haven’t changed anti-bullying protocols, but they’ve adjusted to apply respecting a student’s choice on mask wearing.

“We decided there’s probably not anything new that we need to do,” said Eidahl. “We ask our teachers and all the adults in the building to be very mindful of teaching respect and compassion and empathy.”

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