Dr. Gerald Walton (Professor, Faculty of Education) participated in a panel discussion on TVOntario’s current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin, exploring why bullying remains pervasive in Ontario schools and what can be done to address it.
As a part of his contributions to the panel, Dr. Walton noted that bullying — which he described as “a systemic problem that targets people who are marginalized or who present themselves as different” — must be understood as an abuse of power that connects to feelings of pleasure in the bully.
“There’s research that has looked into brain chemistry of kids who bully and how the pleasure centres are being stimulated when acts of bullying are going on … there’s an adrenalin rush that happens … it’s what motivates bullying in the first place.”
He suggests educators can use societal examples where bullying is normalized and even validated to discuss its effects.
Other panelists on the show included Katie Cole (Thames Valley District School Board), Annalisa Varano (Catholic Principals’ Council, Ontario), Claire Crooks (Western University), and Julie Schaafsma (Co-founder, Voices Against Bullying).
The show can be viewed here.