This article is about student-related bullying at school. For teacher-related bullying at school, see Bullying in teaching.
School bullying is a type of bullying that occurs in an educational setting.
Bullying without comprehensive definition, can be physical, verbal or emotional in nature, or it can occur online (cyberbullying). For an act to be considered bullying it must meet certain criteria. This includes hostile intent, imbalance of power, repetition, distress, and provocation. Bullying can have a wide spectrum of effects on a student including anger, depression, stress and suicide. Additionally, the bully can develop different social disorders or have a higher chance of engaging in criminal activity.
If there is suspicion that a child is being bullied or is a bully, there are warning signs in their behavior. There are many programs and organizations worldwide which provide bullying prevention services or information on how children can cope if they have been bullied.
There is no universal definition of school bullying; however, it is widely agreed that bullying is a subcategory of aggressive behavior characterized by the following three minimum criteria:
- hostile intent (i.e., the harm caused by bullying is deliberate, not accidental),
- imbalance of power (i.e., bullying includes a real or perceived power inequity between the bully and the victim), and
- repetition over a period of time (i.e., more than once with the potential to occur multiple times).
The following two additional criteria have been proposed to complement the above-mentioned criteria:
- victim distress (victim suffers mild to severe psychological, social or physical trauma) and
- provocation (bullying is motivated by perceived benefits of their aggressive behaviors).
Some of these characteristics have been disputed (e.g., for power imbalance: bullies and victims often report that conflicts occur between two equals); nevertheless, they remain widely established in the scientific literature.
The underlying causes of school violence and bullying include gender and social norms and wider contextual and structural factors.
Discriminatory gender norms that shape the dominance of men and the subservience of women and the perpetuation of these norms through violence are found in some form in many cultures. Gender inequality and the prevalence of violence against women in society exacerbate the problem. Similarly, social norms that support the authority of teachers over children may legitimise the use of violence to maintain discipline and control.
The pressure to conform to dominant gender norms is also high. Young people who cannot or who choose not to conform to these norms are often punished for this through violence and bullying at school.
Schools themselves can "teach" children to be violent through discriminatory practices, curricula and textbooks. If unchecked, gender discrimination and power imbalances in schools can encourage attitudes and practices that subjugate children, uphold unequal gender norms and tolerate violence, including corporal punishment.
Some attribute part of the cause of bullying to the atmosphere in which it occurs. Thornberg and Knutsen state in their study, "School attributing refers to attributing the cause of bullying to the school setting." They say that school attributing has two subcategories which are "boredom in school" and “poor antibullying practices". Boredom in school involves a student who does not have anything else to do other than bully. Poor antibullying practices may include teachers and staff not caring enough to intervene, or a school not having enough teachers for students. This may lead to the students feeling unwanted or unimportant due to the lack of care from the school's staff.
Schools and the education system also operate within the context of wider social and structural factors and may reflect and reproduce environments that do not protect children and adolescents from violence and bullying. For example, physical and sexual violence may be more prevalent in schools in contexts where it is also more prevalent in wider society. Studies suggest that sexual violence and harassment of girls is worse in schools where other forms of violence are prevalent, and in conflict and emergency contexts, and that gang violence is more common in schools where gangs, weapons and drugs are part of the local culture.
In their paper "Predicting Bullying: Exploring the Contributions of Childhood Negative Life Experiences in Predicting Adolescent Bullying Behavior," Connell, Morris and Piquero identify three primary aspects of a child’s life- family, school and peers- as major indicators to whether or not that child exhibits behavior akin to bullying.
A victim, in the short term, may feel depressed, anxious, angry, have excessive stress, learned helplessness, feel as though their life has fallen apart, have a significant drop in school performance, or may commit suicide (bullycide). In the long term, they may feel insecure, lack trust, exhibit extreme sensitivity (hypervigilant), or develop a mental illness such as psychopathy, avoidant personality disorder or PTSD. They may also desire vengeance, sometimes leading them to torment others in return.
Anxiety, depression and psychosomatic symptoms are common among both bullies and their victims. Among these participants alcohol and substance abuse are commonly seen later in life. It is known that people suffering from depression feel much better when they talk to others about it, but victims of bullying fear may not talk to others about their feelings in fear of being bullied, which can worsen their depression.
In the short term, being a bystander "can produce feelings of anger, fear, guilt, and sadness.... Bystanders who witness repeated victimizations of peers can experience negative effects similar to the victimized children themselves."
While most bullies, in the long term, grow up to be emotionally functional adults, many have an increased risk of developing antisocial personality disorder, which is linked to an increased risk of committing criminal acts (including domestic violence).
Negative impact on educational quality and outcomes
The educational effects on victims of school violence and bullying are significant. Violence and bullying at the hands of teachers or other students may make children and adolescents afraid to go to school and interfere with their ability to concentrate in class or participate in school activities. It can also have similar effects on bystanders.
The consequences include missing classes, avoiding school activities, playing truant or dropping out of school altogether. This in turn has an adverse impact on academic achievement and attainment and on future education and employment prospects. Children and adolescents who are victims of violence may achieve lower grades and may be less likely to anticipate going on to higher education. Analyses of international learning assessments highlight the impact of bullying on learning outcomes. These analyses clearly show that bullying reduces students’ achievement in key subjects, such as mathematics, and other studies have documented the negative impact of school violence and bullying on educational performance.
Bystanders and the school climate as a whole are also affected by school violence and bullying. Unsafe learning environments create a climate of fear and insecurity and a perception that teachers do not have control or do not care about the students, and this reduces the quality of education for all.
Social and economic costs
The 2006 UN World Report on Violence against Children shows that victims of corporal punishment, both at school and at home, may develop into adults who are passive and over-cautious or aggressive. Involvement in school bullying can be a predictor of future antisocial and criminal behaviour. Being bullied is also linked to a heightened risk of eating disorders and social and relationship difficulties.
Other studies have shown the longer-term effects of bullying at school. One study of all children born in England, Scotland and Wales during one week in 1958 analyzes data on 7,771 children who had been bullied at ages 7 and 11. At age 50, those who had been bullied as children were less likely to have obtained school qualifications and less likely to live with a spouse or partner or to have adequate social support. They also had lower scores on word memory tests designed to measure cognitive IQ even when their childhood intelligence levels were taken into account and, more often reported, that they had poor health. The effects of bullying were visible nearly four decades later, with health, social and economic consequences lasting well into adulthood. For children, “peers are a much more important influence than has been realised. It is a terrible thing to be excluded by your peers”.
The economic impact of violence against children and adolescents is substantial. Youth violence in Brazil alone is estimated to cost nearly US$19 billion every year, of which US$943 million can be linked to violence in schools. The estimated cost to the economy in the USA of violence associated with schools is US$7.9 billion a year.
Analytic work supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) shows that school-related gender-based violence alone can be associated with the loss of one primary grade of schooling, which translates to an annual cost of around US$17 billion to low- and middle-income countries.
In the East Asia and Pacific region, it is estimated that the economic costs of just some of the health consequences of child maltreatment were equivalent to between 1.4% and 2.5% of the region’s annual GDP.
In Argentina, the forgone benefit to society from overall early school dropout is 11.4% of GDP, and in Egypt, nearly 7% of potential earnings is lost as a result of the number of children dropping out of school.
A study has shown that each year Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria lose US$974 million, US$301 million and US$1,662 million respectively for failing to educate girls to the same standard as boys, and violence in school is one of the key factors contributing to the under-representation of girls in education.
According to the American Psychological Association, "40% to 80% of school-age children experience bullying at some point during their school careers." Various studies show that students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds experience bullying more often than other students. The following statistics help illustrate the severity of bullying within classrooms:
- Statistics show that 1 in 3 children are affected by bullying in their lifetime in the U.S. school system, and 30% report being involved in some manner.
- A nationwide survey of bullying in first and second level schools conducted by Trinity College Dublin estimates that some 31% of primary and 16% of secondary students have been bullied at some time.
- In a 1997 study of five Seattle high schools, students recorded their peers' hallway and classroom conversations. It was discovered that the average high school student hears about 25 anti-gay remarks a day.
- In a study conducted across 32 Dutch elementary schools, 16.2% of the 2,766 participating children reported being bullied regularly (at least several times a month).
- At least 1 in 3 adolescent students in Canada has reported being bullied.
- 47% of Canadian parents report having a child who is a victim of bullying.
- Students who are homosexual, bisexual, or transgender are five times as likely to miss school because they feel unsafe after being bullied due to their sexual orientation.
- According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of gay, lesbian, and bisexual students who did not go to school at least one day during the 30 days preceding the survey due to safety concerns ranged from 11% to 30% for gay and lesbian students and 12% to 25% for bisexual students.
- 61.1% of LGBT middle- or high-school students were more likely than their non-LGBT peers to feel unsafe or uncomfortable as a result of their sexual orientation.
- In a Canadian study that surveyed 2,186 students across 33 middle and high schools, 49.5% reported being bullied online in the previous three months. 33.7% of the sample reported being the perpetrator of cyberbullying.
- The most common form of cyberbullying involved receiving threatening or aggressive emails or instant messages, reported by 73% of victims.
- In the United States, a 2013 nationwide survey indicated that 20% of high school students were bullied on school property in the past year, 15% of the students were bullied electronically, and 8% of students ages 12–18 reported ongoing bullying on a weekly basis.
- Higher education students keep silent about the torment because they are expected to handle the issue as an adult, however it requires a support system.
- According to the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, victims of bullying are more likely to be sexually inactive compared to bullies.
Statistics referencing the prevalence of bullying in schools may be inaccurate and tend to fluctuate. In a U.S. study of 5,621 students ages 12–18, 64% of the students had experienced bullying and did not report it.
Proactive aggression is a behavior that expects a reward. With bullying each individual has a role to defend.[clarification needed] Some children act proactively but will show aggression to defend themselves if provoked. These children will react aggressively but tend to never be the ones to attack first.
There have been two subtypes created in bully classification; popular aggressive and unpopular aggressive. Popular aggressive bullies are social and do not encounter a great deal of social stigma from their aggression. Unpopular aggressive bullies, however, are most often rejected by other students and use aggression to seek attention.
- In a recent national survey 3,708,284 students reported being a perpetrator of bullying in the U.S. school system.
- Studies have shown bullies actually report more success in making friends than other children.
- Bullying behavior in perpatrators is shown to decrease with age.
- Developmental research suggests bullies are often morally disengaged and use egocentric reasoning strategies.
- Adolescents who experience violence or aggression in the home, or are influenced by negative peer relationships, are more likely to bully. This suggests that positive social relationships reduce the likelihood of bullying.
- The diagnosis of a mental health disorder is strongly associated with being a bully. This trend is most evident in adolescents diagnosed with depression, anxiety, or ADHD.
- Poor theory of mind is associated with bullying.
- 25% of students encourage bullying if not given proper education and information about the consequences of bullying.
- A study by Lisa Garby shows that 60% of bullies in middle school will have at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24.
In a survey by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), students were asked to complete a questionnaire.
A total of 10.6% of the children replied that they had sometimes bullied other children, a response category defined as moderate bullying. An additional 8.8% said they had bullied others once a week or more, defined as frequent bullying. Similarly, 8.5% said they had been targets of moderate bullying, and 8.4% said they were bullied frequently. Out of all the students, 13% said they had engaged in moderate or frequent bullying of others, while 10.6% said they had been bullied either moderately or frequently. Some students — 6.3% — had both bullied others and been bullied themselves. In all, 29% of the students who responded to the survey had been involved in some aspect of bullying, either as a bully, as the target of bullying or both.
According to Tara Kuther, an associate professor of psychology at Western Connecticut State University, "...bullying gets so much more sophisticated and subtle in high school. It's more relational. It becomes more difficult for teens to know when to intervene; whereas with younger kids, bullying is more physical and, therefore, more clear-cut."
Types of bullying
There are four basic types of bullying: verbal, physical, psychological, and cyber. Cyberbullying is becoming one of the most common types. While victims can experience bullying at any age, it is witnessed most often in school-aged children.
Direct bullying is a relatively open attack on a victim that is physical and/or verbal in nature. Indirect bullying is more subtle and harder to detect, but involves one or more forms of relational aggression, including social isolation via intentional exclusion, spreading rumors to defame one's character or reputation, making faces or obscene gestures behind someone's back, and manipulating friendships or other relationships.
Pack bullying is bullying undertaken by a group. The 2009 Wesley Report on bullying found that pack bullying was more prominent in high schools and lasted longer than bullying undertaken by individuals.
See also: Physical abuse
Physical bullying is any unwanted physical contact between the bully and the victim. This is one of the most easily identifiable forms of bullying. Examples include:
See also: Psychological abuse
Emotional bullying is any form of bullying that causes damage to a victim’s psyche and/or emotional well-being. Examples include:
- Spreading malicious rumors about people
- Getting certain people to "gang up" on others (this could also be considered physical bullying)
- Ignoring people on purpose (via the silent treatment or pretending the victim is non-existent)
- Provoking others
- Belittling, making fun of people, or saying hurtful things (which are also forms of verbal bullying)
See also: Verbal abuse
Verbal bullying is any slanderous statements or accusations that cause the victim undue emotional distress. Examples include:
Main article: Cyberbullying
According to the website Stop Cyberbullying, "Cyberbullying is when anyone is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones." This form of bullying can easily go undetected because of the lack of parental or authoritative supervision. Because bullies can pose as someone else, it is the most anonymous form of bullying. Cyberbullying includes abuse using email, blogs, instant messaging, text messaging, or websites. Many who are bullied in school are likely to be bullied over the Internet and vice versa. Since students have become more reliant on internet, the advancement in social media and technology has altered the fear of in-person bullying away from schoolyards but has rather increase cyberbullying. Studies have shown almost half of cyberbullies are repeat offenders and harass others as few at three times. Males are more likely to be active cyberbullies than females. Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day and seven days a week and reach a child even when they are alone. Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts or pictures is extremely difficult after being posted or sent.
According to the website Stop Cyberbullying, "When schools try and get involved by disciplining the student for cyberbullying actions that took place off campus and outside of school hours, they are often sued for exceeding their authority and violating the student's free speech right."  They suggest for schools to make revisions to their policies that would allow for disciplinary actions to take place even if off campus or after hours. They say if the act is likely to affect a student mentally or physically while in school then the revision of the policy would allow for the staff to intervene without violating the student's constitutional rights.
Cyberbullying has become extremely prevalent; 95% of teens who use social media reported having witnessed malicious behavior on social media from 2009 to 2013. As sites like Facebook or Twitter offer no routine monitoring, children from a young age must learn proper internet behavior, say Abraham Foxman and Cyndi Silverman. "This is a call for parents and educators to teach these modern skills... through awareness and advocacy." Per Scott Eidler, "Parents and educators need to make children aware at a young age of the life-changing effects cyberbullying can have on the victim. The next step for prevention is advocacy. For example, three high school students from Melville, New York organized a Bullying Awareness Walk, where several hundred people turned out to show their support."
Clara Wajngurt writes, "Other than organizing events, calling for social media sites to take charge could make the difference between life and death. Cyberbullying is making it increasingly difficult to enforce any form of prevention." Joanna Wojcik concludes, "The rapid growth of social media is aiding the spread of cyberbullying, and prevention policies are struggling to keep up. In order for prevention policies to be put in place, the definition of cyberbullying must be stated, others must be educated on how to recognize and prevent bullying, and policies that have already attempted to be enacted need to be reviewed and learned from."
Researcher Charisse Nixon found that students do not reach out for help with cyberbullying for four main reasons: they do not feel connected to the adults around them; the students do not see the cyberbullying as an issue that is worth bringing forward; they do not feel the surrounding adults have the ability to properly deal with the cyberbullying; and the teenagers have increased feelings of shame and humiliation regarding the cyberbullying. Nixon also found that when bystanders took action in helping end the cyberbullying in adolescents, the results were more positive than when the adolescents attempted to resolve the situation without outside help.
Main article: Sexual bullying
Sexual bullying is "any bullying behavior, whether physical or non-physical, that is based on a person’s sexuality or gender. It is when sexuality or gender is used as a weapon by boys or girls towards other boys or girls—although it is more commonly directed at girls. It can be carried out to a person’s face, behind their back or through the use of technology."
As part of its research into sexual bullying in schools, the BBC TV series Panorama commissioned a questionnaire aimed at people aged 11 to 19 in schools and youth clubs across five regions of England. The survey revealed that of the 273 respondents, 28 had been forced to do something sexual, and 31 had seen it happen to someone else. Of the 273 respondents, 40 had experienced unwanted touching. U.K. government figures show that in the 2007–2008 school year, there were 3,450 fixed-period exclusions and 120 expulsions from schools in England due to sexual misconduct. This included incidents such as groping and using sexually insulting language. From April 2008 to March 2009, ChildLine counselled a total of 156,729 children, 26,134 of whom spoke about bullying as a main concern and 300 of whom spoke specifically about sexual bullying.
The U.K. charity Beatbullying has claimed that as gang culture enters, children are being bullied into providing sexual favours in exchange for protection. However, other anti-bullying groups and teachers' unions, including the National Union of Teachers, challenged the charity to provide evidence of this.
Sexting cases are also on the rise and have become a major source of bullying. The circulation of explicit photos of those involved either around school or the internet put the originators in a position to be scorned and bullied. There have been reports of some cases in which the bullying has been so extensive that the victim has taken their life.
Higher education bullying
According to HealthDay News, 15 percent of college students claim to have been victims of bullying while at college. In the article, "Bullying not a thing of the past for college students," Kaitlyn Krasselt writes, "Bullying comes in all forms but is usually thought of as a K-12 issue that ceases to exist once students head off to college." The misconception that bullying does not occur in higher education began to receive attention after the death of college student Tyler Clementi.
Bullying is usually associated with an imbalance of power. A bully has a perceived authority over another due to factors such as size, gender, or age. Boys tend to bully peers based on the peer's physical weakness, short temper, friend group, and clothing. Bullying among girls, on the other hand, results from factors such as facial appearance, emotional factors, being overweight, and academic status. Both sexes tend to target people with speech impediments of some sort (such as stutter).
Bullies often come from families that use physical forms of discipline.
Bullying locations vary by context. Most bullying in elementary school happens in the playground. In middle school and high school, it occurs most in the hallways, which have little supervision. According to the U.S Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics, more than 47% of kids reported getting bullied in hallways and stairway. Bus stops and bus rides to and from school tend to be hostile environments as well; children tend to view the driver as someone with no disciplinary authority.
Bullying may also follows people into adult life and university. Bullying can take over the lives of both lecturers and students, and can lead to supervisors putting pressure on students. Bullying can happen in any place at any time.
Victims of bullying typically are physically smaller, more sensitive, unhappy, cautious, anxious, quiet, and withdrawn. They are often described as passive or submissive. Possessing these qualities make these individuals vulnerable, as they are seen as being less likely to retaliate.
Signs that a child is being bullied include:
- Unexplainable injuries
- Showing anxiety and post-traumatic stress
- Lost or destroyed clothing
- Changes in eating habits
- Declining grades
- Continual school absences
- Suicidal tendencies
- Becoming overly apologetic
Signs that a child is bullying others include:
- Getting into physical or verbal fights
- Getting sent to the principal's office frequently
- Having friends who bully others
- Becoming increasingly aggressive in normal activities
Signs that a child has witnessed bullying include:
- Poor school behavior
- Emotional disturbance
- Post-traumatic stress
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Suicidal tendencies
McNamee and Mercurio state that there is a "bullying triangle", consisting of the person doing the bullying, the person getting bullied, and the bystander.
The US Department of Health and Human Services divides the people involved in bullying into several roles:
- Bully: student with social and/or physical power who repeatedly picks on another student or group of students with the intent to inflict harm or discomfort
- Victim: the target of the bullying
- Bystander: student who observes bullying; they may ignore it, encourage it, or defend the victim
- Student who assists: does not start the bullying, but helps and is encouraged by surrounding peers to do so. They may feel that their social status will be damaged if they are not involved.
- Student who reinforces: play a minor role in bullying, such as laughing at the bully's insults
- Outsider: not involved in the bullying but witnesses it
- Defendant: defends the victim or consoles them afterwards
In her book, The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, Barbara Coloroso divides bullies into several types:
- The confident bully has a very high opinion of themselves and feels a sense of superiority over other students.
- The social bully uses rumors, gossip, and verbal taunts to insult others. Social bullies are typically female and possess low self-esteem, and therefore try to bring others down.
- The fully armored bully shows very little emotion and often bullies when no one will see or stop them.
- The hyperactive bully typically has problems with academics and social skills. This student will often bully someone, then place the blame on someone else.
- A bullied bully is usually someone who has been bullied in the past or is bullied by an older sibling.
- A "bunch of bullies" (more often referred to as a "gang of bullies") is a group of friends who gang up on others for fun or due to their desire for power.
Complex cultural dynamics
Parsons identifies school bullying cultures as typically having a web of dynamics which are much more complex than just considering bullying amongst students. These dynamics include:
- Some students bully other students; some of these student bullies are themselves bullied by other student bullies; some of these student bullies bully teachers.
- Some teachers bully students; some teacher bullies bully other teachers; some teacher bullies bully parents.
- Some office staff bully teachers, students and parents.
- Some principals bully teachers, office staff, students and parents.
- Some parents bully teachers, office staff, principals, and even their own children.
Researchers have identified many misconceptions regarding bullying:
- Bullying is a consequence of large class or school size.
- Bullying is a consequence of competition for grades and failure in school.
- Bullying is a consequence of poor self-esteem and insecurity.
- Bullying is just teasing.
- Some people deserve to be bullied.
- Only boys are bullies.
- Bullying is a normal part of growing up.
- Bullies will go away if ignored.
- The best way to deal with a bully is by fighting or trying to get even.
- People who are bullied will only hurt for a while before recovering.
- Bullying is thought of as a K-12 issue that ceases to exist once students enter college.
Studies have shown that bullying programs set up in schools with the help and engagements of staff and faculty have been shown to reduce peer victimization and bullying. Incidences of bullying are noticeably reduced when the students themselves disapprove of bullying.
Measures such as increasing awareness,[contradictory] instituting zero tolerance for fighting, or placing troubled students in the same group or classroom are actually ineffective in reducing bullying; methods that are effective include increasing empathy for victims; adopting a program that includes teachers, students, and parents; and having students lead anti-bullying efforts.[pages needed] Success is most associated with beginning interventions at an early age, constantly evaluating programs for effectiveness, and having some students simply take online classes to avoid bullies at school.
One possible prevention and intervention for bullying is "positive behavioral interventions and supports" (PBIS). This is defined as a "framework for enhancing adoption of a continuum of evidence based interventions to achieve academically and behaviorally important outcomes for all students. PBIS seeks to improve school climate, reduce discipline issues, and support academic achievement."
Legislation and court rulings
Main article: Anti-bullying legislation
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(September 2016)
Section 89 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 provides for an anti-bullying policy for all state schools to be made available to parents.
The victims of some school shootings have sued both the shooters' families and the schools. At one point only 23 states had Anti-Bullying laws. In 2015 Montana became the last state to have an anti-bullying law and at that point all 50 states had an anti-bullying law. These laws are not going to abolish bullying but it does bring attention to the behavior and it lets the aggressors know it will not be tolerated.
In 2016, a legal precedent was set by a mother and her son, after the son was bullied at his public school. The mother and son won a court case against the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, making this the first case in North America where a school board has been found negligent in a bullying case for failing to meet the standard of care (the "duty of care" that the school board owes to its students). A similar bullying case was won in Australia in 2013 (Oyston v. St. Patricks College).
- The Ministry of Education launched a serial of project. In 2006, they started the 'anti-bully plan'. In 2008, they launched the 'prevent bully video from public project', and also building multiple informants route, monitoring the school, in hope that it could improve the education quality.
Main article: School shootings
School bullying is associated with school shootings; the vast majority of students (87%) believe that shootings occur in direct retaliation to bullying. School shooters who left behind evidence that they were bullied include Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (perpetrators of the Columbine school shooting), Nathan Ferris, Edmar Aparecido Freitas, Brian Head, Seung-Hui Cho, Wellington Menezes Oliveira, Kimveer Gill, Karl Pierson, and Jeff Weise.[unreliable source?]
Events and organizations
Events and organizations which address bullying in schools include:
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it.(September 2016)
- Flashman in Tom Brown's Schooldays
- Too-Tall Grizzly and his gang in The Berenstain Bears franchise
- Henry Bowers, Victor Criss "Vic" Criss, Reginald "Belch" Huggins, Patrick Hockstetter, Peter Gordon, Steve "Moose" Sadler, and Gard Jagermeyer in Stephen King's novel It
- Clarence "Buddy" Repperton, Richard "Richie" Trelawney, Donald "Don" Vandenberg, and Peter "Moochie" Welch in Stephen King's novel Christine
- Nelson Muntz, Jimbo Jones, Dolph Starbeam, Kearney Zzyzwicz, and the "Weasels" in the animated sitcom The Simpsons
- Chris Hargensen and numerous other girls and students in Stephen King's novel Carrie
- Roger Klotz, William "Willie" White, Ned Cauphee, and Boomer Bledsoe in the animated television series Doug
- Flash Thompson and other jocks and popular students in the Spider-Man franchise
- Numerous mean kids in the movie Scarecrow
- Steve Jackson and his gang in the fantasy sci-fi film Explorers
- ^U.S. National Center for Education Statistics. Student Reports of Bullying: Results From the 2001 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey(PDF) (Report).
- ^ abBurger, Christoph; Strohmeier, Dagmar; Spröber, Nina; Bauman, Sheri; Rigby, Ken (2015). "How teachers respond to school bullying: An examination of self-reported intervention strategy use, moderator effects, and concurrent use of multiple strategies"(PDF). Teaching and Teacher Education. 51: 191–202. doi:10.1016/j.tate.2015.07.004.
- ^ abcdeGoldsmid, S.; Howie, P. (2014). "Bullying by definition: An examination of definitional components of bullying". Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties. 19 (2): 210–225. doi:10.1080/13632752.2013.844414.
- ^ abcdefghijklmnoUNESCO (2017). School Violence and Bullying: Global Status Report(PDF). Paris, UNESCO. pp. 17, 29, 31. ISBN 978-92-3-100197-0.
- ^Meyer, Doug (2017). "The Disregarding of Heteronormativity: Emphasizing a Happy Queer Adulthood and Localizing Anti-Queer Violence to Adolescent Schools". Sexuality Research & Social Policy. 14 (3): 331. doi:10.1007/s13178-016-0272-7.
- ^Thornberg, Robert, and Sven Knutsen (2010). "Teenagers' Explanations of Bullying". Child & Youth Care Forum. 40 (3): 177. doi:10.1007/s10566-010-9129-z.
- ^School-related gender-based violence is preventing the achievement of quality education for all. UNESCO Policy Paper 17 (March 2015)
Law that prohibits discrimination against students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
Law that prohibits discrimination against students based on sexual orientation only
Law that prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address discrimination and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address discrimination and/or bullying of students based on sexual orientation only
Law that forbids school-based instruction of LGBT issues in a positive manner
Law that prohibits bullying in school but lists no categories of protection
No statewide law that specifically prohibits bullying in schools
Can you remember the schoolyard jingle that went, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? Obviously that was not and is not the truth. The death of Rebecca Ann Sedwick, a 12-year-old 7th grader who took her life last month in Polk County Florida proves that words are capable of harming vulnerable young children. Both physical and nonphysical forms can and do happen anywhere in the school, on the way to and from school, and even online. "Over 13 million American kids will be bullied this year, making it the most common form of violence experience by young people in the nation." (Hirsch, 2012 BULLY (Motion Picture, Weinstein Company)
According to the FBI, "Bullying remains one of the largest problems in schools, with the percentage of students reportedly bullied at least once per week steadily increasing since 1999." Additionally, cyberbullying has become more rampant and has contributed to the suicides of multiple children. The Internet has unleashed meanness to a degree unseen before. Thanks to the accessibility to the Internet and the affordability of new technology, bullies now have multiple ways to harass their victims. The current generation has the added ability to use technology to expand their reach and the extent of their attacks exponentially.
The most susceptible are also the most vulnerable. A recent report from the Interactive Autism Network found that 63 percent of children with autism have been bullied, over three times as much as those without the disorder.
Most school bullying takes place in areas that are less supervised by adults, such as on the school bus, in the student cafeteria, in restrooms, hallways and locker rooms. Schools need to create an action plan to address these spots by additional adults or using security techniques including closed circuit cameras. They can also establish anonymous reporting tools like suggestion boxes or cyberbullying hotlines where students can send real time text messages or leave a voice mail on the school website.
What Schools Can do to Prevent Bullying
School-Level and Administrative Interventions
• Increase reporting of bullying. Assess the awareness and the scope of the bullying problems at school through student and staff surveys. To address the problem of students' resistance to reporting bullying, some schools have set up a bully hotline. Some schools use a "bully box": Students drop a note in the box to alert teachers and administrators to problem bullies. Others have developed student questionnaires to determine the nature and extent of bullying problems in school.
• Establish a clear procedure to investigate reports of bullying.
• Students and parents need to know that the school takes bullying seriously and will take any actions, including arrest to prevent its occurrence.
• Develop activities in less-supervised areas. In these areas (e.g., schoolyards, lunchrooms), trained supervisors spot bullying and initiate activities such as having roving personnel visit those locations, and having closed circuit television that limit opportunities for it.
• Reduce the amount of time students can spend unsupervised. Because much bullying occurs during the least supervised time (e.g., recess, lunch breaks, class changes), reducing the unsupervised amount of time available to students can reduce the amount of bullying.
• Stagger recess, lunch, and class-release times. This approach minimizes the number of bullies and victims present at one time, so supervisors have less trouble spotting bullying. However, supervisors must be mindful that most bullies are in the same grade as their victims.
• Monitor areas where bullying can be expected, such as bathrooms. Adult monitoring can increase the risk that bullies will get caught but may require increased staffing or trained volunteers.
• Assign bullies to a particular location or to particular chores during release times. This approach separates bullies from their intended victims. Some teachers give bullies constructive tasks such as tutoring other students, cleaning up trash, involved in sporting activities, to occupy them during release times.
• Post classroom signs prohibiting bullying and listing the consequences. This puts would-be bullies on notice and outlines the risks they are taking. Teachers, leaders, and staff must consistently enforce the rules for them to have meaning. Schools should post signs in each classroom and apply age-appropriate penalties.
• Have high-level school administrators inform late-enrolling students and their parents about the school's bullying policy. This removes any excuse new students have for bullying, puts parents on notice that the school takes bullying seriously, and stresses the importance the school places on countering it.
• Provide teachers with effective classroom-management training. To address bullying, schools should ensure that all teachers have effective classroom-management training. Because research suggests that classes containing students with behavioral, emotional, or learning problems have more bullies and victims, teachers in those classes may require additional, tailored training in spotting and handling bullying.
• Form of a bullying prevention coordinating committee (a small group of energetic teachers, administrators, counselors, and other school staff who plan and monitor school activities.) This committee should develop schoolwide rules and sanctions against bullying, systems to reinforce prosocial behavior, and events to raise school and community awareness about bullying.
• Hold teacher in-service days to review findings from student questionnaires or surveys, discuss bullying problems, and plan the school's violence prevention efforts.
• Schedule regular classroom meetings during which students and teachers engage in discussion, role-playing and artistic activities related to preventing bullying and other forms of violence among students.
• Encourage parent participation by establishing on-campus parent centers that recruit, coordinate, and encourage parents to take part in the educational process and volunteer to assist in school activities and projects.
• Ensure that your school has legally required policies and procedures for sexual, racial and gender discrimination. Make these procedures known to parents and students.
• Develop strategies to reward students for positive, inclusive behavior such as pizza parties, recognition reward, certificates
• Provide classroom activities and discussions related to bullying and violence, including the harm that they cause and strategies to reduce their incidence. Involve students in establishing classroom rules against bullying and steps they can take if they see it happening. For example, students could work together to create the classroom signs mentioned previously.
• Teach cooperation by assigning projects that requires collaboration. Such cooperation teaches students how to compromise and how to assert without demanding. Take care to vary grouping of participants and to monitor the treatment of and by participants in each group.
• Take immediate action when bullying is observed. All teachers must let children know they care and will not allow anyone to be mistreated. By taking immediate action and dealing directly with the bully, adults support both the victim and the witnesses.
• Confront bullies in private. Challenging bullies in front of their peers may actually enhance their status and lead to further aggression.
• Avoid attempts to mediate a bullying situation. The difference in power between victims and bullies may cause victims to feel further victimized by the process or to believe they are somehow at fault.
• Refer both victims and aggressors to counseling when appropriate.
• Provide protection for bullying victims when necessary. Such protection may include creating a buddy system whereby students have a particular friend or older buddy on whom they can depend and with whom they share class schedule information and plans for the school day.
• Notify parents of both victims and bullies when confrontations occur, and seek to resolve the problem expeditiously at school.
• Listen receptively to parents who report bullying, and investigate reported circumstances so immediate and appropriate school action may be taken.
What Schools Can Do To Discourage Bullying on a School Bus
1. Train the staff (including bus drivers) on what to do if they encounter bullying either in school, in-route to school or around the school.
2. Create enforceable rules and inform students and parents of the consequences if children or parents commit bullying. Parents at school games should not be permitted to scream at coaches or referees; if they do they should be evicted. If necessary, ban their attendance at all school events. Rules that are created need to be enforceable and enforced.
3. Rules should be posted in the school, sent home to parents and put in community newspapers so that everyone is aware.
4. All school buses should have closed circuit televisions so if violence or bullying take place, school administrators and law enforcement people would be aware.
5. An outreach to law enforcement should be made so that law enforcement people are available at the beginning and end of the school day.
6. If fights break out on the bus, consider whether law enforcement personnel should be notified and whether arrests should be made.
The word cyberbullying didn't exist a decade ago, yet the problem is pervasive today thanks to the use of social media websites like, Twitter, and Facebook. Cyberbullying is the repeated use of technology to harass, humiliate or threaten. Mobile phones may be the most abused medium. Bullies send threatening or harassing text messages, often involving sex, sexual orientation, or race. Unwelcome sexual comments and threats of sexual abuse are often directed at girls. Boys are more often victims of homophobic harassment, regardless of their true sexual orientation. Racial slurs and threats of violence also are concerns. In one U.S. study 13 percent of students reported being called a hate-related name.
Email, websites, and screen names in chat rooms are masks for electronic bullies, who can attack without warning and with alarming persistence. Several examples of cyberbullying include:
• Taking humiliating pictures of another student and sharing them with others.
• Verbally abusing another student through texting.
• Spreading rumors about a student on Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace.
• Sending emails or instant messages to their victims.
The consequences of bullying can be serious. Victims' schoolwork often suffers. Some students have dropped out of school, been compelled to seek psychiatric help, and even committed suicide as a result of the distress caused by cyberbullies.
What Teachers and Administrators Can Do About Cyberbullying
1. Communicate. Keep everyone affected by electronic bullying informed. Filters for Internet content do not work for most cyber bullying, but helping students combat bullying on their own does. Peer-support and parent-involvement groups also can help.
2. Encourage openness. Bullies thrive on secrecy, intimidation, and humiliation. They count on their victims' silence. Openness is a key to reducing or eliminating bullying. Urge students to talk to their parents and teachers.
3. Monitor email, Internet, and cell-phone use. Responsible adults should determine when students are mature enough to handle electronic communication -- especially when such communication may include cyber-bullying content.
4. Hold bullies responsible. Electronic bullying is a punishable offense. When cyber bullies are identified, hold them accountable. Most schools have anti-harassment policies that should extend to electronic bullying.
5. Contact law enforcement personnel to give professional development training to school staff to look for how to identify cyberbullying.
(Reproduced from Phi Delta Kappa International P.O. Box 789 Bloomington, IN 47402-0789, USA 800/766-1156 www.pdkintl.org Share the knowledge. Copies of "Confronting Electronic Bullying" may be made and disseminated (free of charge) without further permission. (© Phi Delta Kappa International)
What Students Can Do About Cyberbullying
• Don't engage the bully. Most bullies are looking for a reaction from their victims. Lack of a response can help to extinguish the bullying behaviors.
• Don't share secrets
• Protect your own privacy. Do not send pictures of yourself on the Internet.
• Think about the consequences.
• Don't respond to and don't forward cyberbullying messages.
• Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Record the dates, times and descriptions what the cyberbully says.
• Report instances of cyberbullying to your parent.
What Students Can Do To Stop Bullying
Students may not know what to do when they observe a classmate being bullied or experience such victimization themselves. Classroom discussions and activities may help students develop a variety of appropriate actions that they can take when they witness or experience such victimization. For instance, depending on the situation and their own level of comfort, students can do the following:
• Seek immediate help from an adult and report bullying and victimization incidents to school personnel
• Speak up and/or offer support to the victim when they see him or her being bullied (e.g., picking up the victim's books and handing them to him or her)
• Privately support those being hurt those being hurt with words of kindness or condolence
• Express disapproval of bullying behavior by not joining in the laughter, teasing, or spreading of rumors or gossip
• Attempt to defuse problem situations either single-handedly or in a group (e.g., by taking the bully aside and asking him or her to "cool it"
Things parents can do if they believe their child is being bullied
1. Talk to your child about what happened. Listen to the whole story without interrupting. Be calm and validate what is being said. Remind your child that it is normal to feel upset but it is never all right to be bullied. Ask your child what he/she would like to happen, before you make any suggestions.
2. Don't expect your child to solve things on their own
3. Deal with each incident consistently. Never ignore or downplay complaints about bullying.
4. Keep a log of the incidents, where the bullying took place, who was involved, how frequently, if anyone witnessed it. Do not attempt to confront the person or their family yourself.
5. Contact the school. Find out if the school has an anti-bullying policy. Find out if the school is aware of the bullying and whether anything is being done to address the situation. Make an appointment to speak to a school counselor or school administrator.
6. If your child asks to stay at home from school, explain that it won't help and if may make things worse.
7. Discuss bullying at school board meetings and with other parents (i.e.PTA).
Schools need to assertively confront this problem and take any instance of bullying seriously. Addressing and preventing bullying requires the participation of all major school constituencies, school leaders, teachers, parents, and students. By taking organized schoolwide measures and providing individuals with the strategies to counteract bullying schools can reduce the instances of bullying and be better prepared to address it when it happens.