What is Bullying?
Bullying behavior is very different from conflict. It is behavior that is intended to cause some kind of harm. The person doing the bullying purposely says or does something to hurt the target of his/her behavior.
There is always an imbalance of power (physical or social) or strength between the person doing the bullying and the target of the behavior. The person doing the bullying make be physically bigger or stronger or may be older or have greater social status or social power than the person being targeted.
- An older student verbally abuses younger students on the bus and does not let them sit where they want to
- A bigger child threatens a smaller child for his lunch
- A very popular teenager intimidates others to do his/her bidding
It is aggressive behavior by one individual (or group) that is directed at a particular person (or group). The aggressive behavior is unwanted and negative. It is deliberate and unprovoked. The targeted person is harmed by what is purposely being said or done. There is only one person feeling emotional upset—the person who is the target of the bullying. The person who engages in bullying behavior derives some sense of satisfaction from his/her behavior and does not feel sorrow or regret about the harmful effects of her/his behavior.
- A student intentionally bumps into a classmate whenever they pass in the hallway and encourages other students to laugh
- An athlete taunts another student about his sexual orientation in the locker room
- Classmates make fun of a student’s clothes or a mock student’s accent or taunt him/her about his / her grades
Although bullying can occur in a single incident, it is usually a pattern of behavior repeated over time and can take many forms –physical, verbal or social.
- A group of students regularly call another student names and hold her/him up for ridicule in front of others
- A student repeatedly uses social media to embarrass and harass a classmate
- A student gets others to go along with excluding a particular girl/boy from participating in activities in which she would otherwise be included.
What help is available for students who have been the targets of bullying?
School counselors are available to provide counseling services or referrals.