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Bullying and Harassment

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Bullying 

What is school bullying?

Bullying is exposing a person to abusive actions repeatedly over time.1 Being aware of children's teasing and acknowledging injured feelings are always important. Bullying becomes a concern when hurtful or aggressive behavior toward an individual or group appears to be unprovoked, intentional, and (usually) repeated. 

Bullying is a form of violence. It involves a real or perceived imbalance of power, with the more powerful child or group attacking those who are less powerful. Bullying may be physical (hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing), verbal (taunting, malicious teasing, name calling, threatening), or emotional (spreading rumors, manipulating social relationships, extorting, or intimidating). Bullying can occur face-to-face or in the online world.

Bullying is also one or more acts by a pupil or group of pupils directed against another pupil that constitutes sexual harassment, hate violence, or severe or pervasive intentional harassment, threats, or intimidation that is disruptive, causes disorder, and invades the rights of others by creating an intimidating or hostile educational environment, and includes acts that are committed personally or by means of an electronic act, as defined.

An "electronic act" is defined as transmission of a communication, including, but not limited to, a message, text, sound, or image by means of an electronic devise, including but not limited to, a telephone, wireless telephone or other wireless communication device, computer, or pager.

What do bullies do?

Bullying actions may be direct or indirect.

Direct bullying or identifiable bullying actions may include:

  • Hitting, tripping, shoving, pinching, and excessive tickling
  • Verbal threats, name calling, racial slurs, and insults
  • Demanding money, property, or some service to be performed
  • Stabbing, choking, burning, and shooting 


Indirect bullying may be more difficult to detect and may include:

  • Rejecting, excluding, or isolating target(s)
  • Humiliating target(s) in front of friends 
  • Manipulating friends and relationships
  • Sending hurtful or threatening e-mail or writing notes
  • Blackmailing, terrorizing, or posing dangerous dares
  • Developing a Web site devoted to taunting, ranking, or degrading a target and inviting others to join in posting humiliating notes or messages.

Do both boys and girls bully?

Yes. Typically, boys are direct and more physical while girls bully in more indirect ways. Some bullies use both direct and indirect strategies. Ultimately, it is important to the bully to be able to choose methods that produce the most success. 

Although bullying among youths involves both bullies and targets of bullying, some students can be both a target and a bully at the same time. School districts must recognize bullying and develop policies that discourage such behavior and establish the consequences for students who bully at school. Everyone at the school, including parents, must understand that bullying is harmful and must take responsibility to recognize and stop bullying when it happens.

 

Cyber bullying or online bullying is a term used to refer to bullying over electronic media. Cyber bullying is willful and involves recurring or repeated harm inflicted through electronic text. Cyber bullying can be as simple as continuing to send e-mail to someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender. Cyber bullies may also include threats, "putdowns" or hate-motivated speech. Cyber bullies may publish the personal contact information of their victims. They may attempt to assume the identity of a victim for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames or ridicules them.

 

Bullying Information and Resources

Mt. Diablo Unified School District Board Policies: Bullying BP 5131.2  and Anti-Bullying AR 5145.4

Resources available to students, families and teachers:

California Department of Education – Publications and Websites

Stomp Out Bullying: Recognized as most influential anti-bullying organization in America and beyond

Stop Bullying Now: Information for adults and youth 

Cyberbullying Research Center: Provides lessons, quizzes, research and information

Common Sense Media's Cyberbullying Toolkit: Two lesson plans for each grade, parent materials perfect for back-to-school night, and additional online resources (for grades K-12)

GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network): Resources and support to implement age-appropriate anti-bullying programs

Peace Builders: A violence prevention curriculum

Teaching Tolerance: News, suggestions and support

Committee for Children: Principal Toolkit