A comparative analysis of bullying laws and policies in public schools in the United States and Nigeria
Aderibigbe, Moradeke Abimbola
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As clearly indicated by Abraham Lincoln, a former president of the United States, bullying has been in existence for a long time, and it is not limited to the United States. Rather, it is a global issue. In addition, it occurs in almost all places where there are human interactions. These include schools, homes, prisons, and workplaces. However, it has been found to be most prevalent, as a form of violence, among children, in schools. Bullying effects on such children are usually devastating and lasting. Bullying has been variously defined. A broad definition, in a Colorado statute, defines bullying as “Any written or verbal expression, or physical act or gesture, or a pattern thereof that is intended to cause distress upon one or more students in the school, on school grounds, in school vehicles, at a designated school vehicle stop, or at school activities or sanctioned events.” Against these backgrounds and in recognition of the little attention that seems to be paid to the bullying phenomenon in school environments globally, particularly in the area of measures to curb it, this dissertation attempts a comparative analysis of bullying laws and policies in public schools in the United states and Nigeria. Based on their similar colonial antecedents, educational, and political systems, the two countries serve as useful representatives for identifying similarities and differences in the availability and implementation of bullying laws and policies in their public schools. The dissertation employs a descriptive and comparative legal methodology with primary data derived from documents containing laws, policies, and ordinances from federal, state, and local government agencies in the United States and Nigeria. It also uses data from secondary sources such as information from scholarly works in books, journals, online articles, government documents, and other materials obtained from libraries and other sources of documents in the United States and Nigeria. Findings show that while there are laws and policies against bullying in virtually all the states in the United States, the same cannot be said of Nigeria, where there are no such specific laws and policies. Recommendations for the United States include expanding and improving implementation of the existing laws and policies if they are to be effective in curbing bullying in public schools. For Nigeria, not only is there an urgent need for enactment of laws and policies against bullying in public schools, but also and more importantly, such laws and policies must be vigorously implemented. A sample model law for Nigeria is provided.