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Bullying Prevention

Definition of Bullying

Bullying is the use of coercion or intimidation to obtain control over another person or to cause physical,
mental, or emotional harm to another person. Bullying can occur through written, verbal, or electronically
transmitted expressions (i.e., cyberbullying) or by means of a physical act or gesture. Bullying is prohibited
against any student for any reason, including but not limited to any such behavior that is directed toward a
student on the basis of his or her academic performance or any basis protected by federal and state law,
including, but not limited to disability, race, creed, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender
expression, marital status, national origin, religion, ancestry and/or the need for special education services, whether
such characteristic(s) is actual or perceived

There are three types of bullying: physical, verbal, and relational.

  • Physical bullying occurs when a student is bodily harmed and includes behaviors such as hitting, kicking, spitting, or pushing.
  • Verbal bullying can be harmful written or verbal communication such as name-calling or threatening another student.
  • Relational bullying is sometimes referred to as social bullying. The purpose of relational bullying is to harm a student’s relationships or social status. This can include behaviors such as spreading rumors or posting embarrassing information online.

Retaliation is an act or communication intended as retribution against an individual who reports an act of
bullying. Retaliation can also include knowingly making false accusations of bullying or acting to influence the investigation of, or the response to, a report of bullying.

False accusations of bullying are those made knowingly by an individual or group of individuals with the purpose of causing harm to another individual and which are false.

Bullying is different from teasing and conflict.  Signs that point to teasing becoming bullying include: (a) the teasing becomes hostile instead of affectionate, (b) the student teasing means to hurt the student being teased, and/or (c) the student being teased gets hurt by the teasing.  A central hallmark differentiating conflict from bullying is that conflict occurs between two students and neither exerts power or control over the other. Moreover, when conflict occurs between students, both are able to express their perspectives and opinions. Bullying and harassment are also closely tied. When considering cases of harassment, actions are based on a person's status in a protected class. 

Is this bullying behavior?

Conflict Rude Mean Bullying
Not planned; in the heat of the moment Spontaneous; unintentional  Intentional Is planned and done on purpose
All parties are upset Can cause hurt feelings; upset Can hurt others deeply The target of the bullying is upset
All parties want to work things out Based in thoughtlessness, poor manners, or narcissism Based in anger; impulsive cruelty The bully is trying to gain control over the target
All parties will accept responsibility  Rude person accepts responsibility Behavior often regretted The bully blames the target
An effort is made by all parties to solve the problem N/A N/A The target wants to stop the bully's behavior; the bully does not
Can be resolved through mediation Social skill building could be of benefit Needs to be addressed/should not be ignored Cannot be resolved through mediation



  • STOPBULLYING.GOV (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services): This site provides information from various government agencies on how children, teens, young adults, parents, educators, and community members can prevent or stop bullying. 
  • CYBERBULLYING.ORG (Cyberbullying Research Center): The Cyberbullying Research Center offers resources for parents, such as CYBERBULLYING WARNING SIGNS to watch for; tips for how to prevent cyberbullying; what to do when your child is cyberbullied; and what to do when your child cyberbullies others. 
  • SAFE2TELL: provides a safe and easy way to anonymously report any threatening behaviors or activities endangering themselves or someone they know.