Bullying is never okay
What is bullying?
We hear a lot about bullying these days, but how do we know the difference between a bully and just a mean or angry person? Bullying is when someone is being hurt on purpose by words or actions, and that person has trouble stopping the behavior.
Kinds of Bullying
Bullying can be physical, emotional, verbal, social, or cyberbullying.
- Physical bullying might include pushing and shoving, hitting, yelling, tripping, taking and/or breaking personal possessions, spitting, rude gestures, and fighting.
- Verbal bullying includes name-calling, mean comments, laughing, teasing, and threats.
- Social bullying includes excluding someone from activities on purpose, spreading rumors, purposely embarrassing or telling lies about someone.
- Cyberbullying Cyberbullying is using technology — like the internet, email, cell phones, and social media to hurt or harm someone else. This can mean sending mean texts, posting statements online that are unkind or untrue, or sending or posting pictures to embarrass someone.
Where does it happen?
Bullying can happen anywhere, but usually happens at school, going to or from school, or in your neighborhood. Cyberbullying can occur whenever someone has access to the internet, a cell phone or social media.
What can schools do so students feel safe from bullying?
- teach kids how to identify bullying behavior in themselves and others
- teach positive communication skills to create a better environment
- create a system so kids can easily report being bullied and the school can take action
- initiate classroom discussions about the effects of bullying and encourage students to be partners with the school to prevent it from happening
- have counseling available for bullies, their victims, and kids who help bullies
- establish an anti-bullying policy that includes strong consequences for bullies
What can kids do?
- memorize a simple phrase you can use to intervene. Just speaking up can help deescalate a bullying situation quickly
- change the subject or use humor so kids are distracted and the bully no longer has center stag
- go and stand next to the person being bullied. Another physical presence — even a silent one — sends a strong message to the bully
- show kindness after the incident. Express sympathy, invite the student to sit at your lunch table. These supportive acts will help enormously
- take action by telling a teacher or other person in charge at school. The person being bullied is usually conflicted or scared to tell someone, but you can do so instead so the school can intervene