Bullying in Schools
According to StopBullying.gov, "bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose."
While the common image of bullying is often of a larger student shoving a smaller student into a locker, bullying can be much more complex and varied than historical stereotypes. While some bullying is physical, bullying can also occur quietly, through gossip or over the internet.
Bullying is done on purpose, with intent to hurt or harm and is usually, but not always, a repeated behavior. Bullying impacts not only the victim of the bullying, but also students who witness it and even the bullies themselves.
If bullying is based on a student's race, color, national origin, sex, or disability, then it can be considered harassment. If a student is being bullied because of disability, federal law requires that the school intervene and take steps to prevent the bullying from happening again.
Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs over an electronic medium. It includes mean texts or emails, rumors spread online and through social media, and embarrassing photos, videos, and fake online profiles. Cyberbullying can occur at any time of the day, not just in school, and the bully may be difficult to identify or track. The effects of cyberbullying are often similar to the effects of the bullying that happens in school, and the same students may be targets of multiple types of bullying.
Bullying can have severe impacts on students' education, health, and safety. It can cause school avoidance and decreased grades, as well as sleeping problems, low self-esteem, and depression. Bullying can also lead to self-isolation, feelings of alienation at school, and self-harm and suicidal ideation.
Bullying can affect you in many ways. You may lose sleep or feel sick. You may want to skip school. You may even be thinking about suicide. If you are feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone who is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).