Bullying 101
“Become the change you want to see”
Mahatma Gandhi
Dave Misir,
Lan Vu,
Jasmine Turka
Table of Contents
• Introduction
• Affects of Bullying
• Prevention & Intervention Strategies
• Misguided Bullying Solutions
• Bullying Myths
• Resources & References
A Childs Perspective
• When asked the question: "What threatens your safety and
emotional health?" Most kids say, teasing and bullying (Kaiser
Family Foundation & Children Now, 2001).
• Yet many adults may not realize how often children see or
experience bullying at school and elsewhere.
• Often adults don't see bullying when it happens.
• Those adults who see it, and do nothing, may not understand
that kids can be hurt by bullying.
What is Bullying
• Bullying is aggressive behavior that is intentional (not
accidental or done in fun) that involves an imbalance of
power or strength.
• Often, bullying is repeated over time, and can take
many forms, such as:
hitting or punching,
teasing or name-calling,
intimidation through gestures,
social exclusion,
sending insulting messages or pictures by mobile phone or
using the Internet also known as cyber bullying.
Types of Bullying
Physical Bullying:
“Physical acts included within this category range from “accidentally on
purpose” physical contact between a bully and victim to all out kicking and
beating resulting in severe injury.”
Emotional/Psychological Bullying:
“This form of bullying is more subtle, more difficult to detect, and possibly
more damaging. Very often emotional bullying is verbal, and centers upon
gossip and name calling. Rejection and isolation are a form of emotional
bullying as well.”
Types of Bullying
Cyber Bullying:
“…refers to emotional intimidation of others via electronic communication. It often
takes the form of inappropriate and hurtful rumors, threats, or photos sent
through e-mail, text messaging, blogs, or website posts. Cyber bullying is easy to
do and difficult to curtail.”
Sexually Based Bullying (Sexual Harassment)
Sexual harassment means that someone is bothering you by saying or doing
unwanted or unwelcome things of a sexual or gender-related nature.
- touching you inappropriately
- making offensive jokes or remarks about women or men
- making sexual requests or suggestions
- staring at or making unwelcome comments about your body
- displaying sexually offensive pictures
- being verbally abusive to you because of your gender
Why Does Bullying Occur &
Who Becomes a Bully
“Pay Off”
When parents and adults give in to an obnoxious or aggressive child, the child learns to use
bullying to get what he or she wants.
Aggressive behaviour in the home. Some children are more likely than others to imitate
aggressive behaviour. Watching adults bully each other gives children the tools they need to
become bullies themselves.
Harsh physical punishment. Bullies often attack smaller, weaker children to model what
happens to them in their homes. The worst possible punishment for bullies is physical.
Abusive peers. Children may be bullied by their “friends” or may be encouraged to bully to
be part of the group.
Constant negative feedback. Bullies feel that the world around them is more negative than
positive. As a result, they use negative behaviour to feel important and get attention.
Warning Signs of Bullying
There are many signs that a child is being bullied. Some
signs to look for:
• The child comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of
clothing, books or other belongings.
• The child has unexplained bruises, cuts or scratches.
• The child seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school,
riding the school bus or taking part in organized activities with peers.
• The child appears sad, moody, teary or depressed when he or she
comes home.
• The child frequently appears anxious and/or suffers from low selfesteem.
Affects of Bullying
Warning Signs & Short Term
Affect of Bullying
Victims feel afraid, lonely, and often attempt to avoid situations in which they may be bullied.
Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
Takes a long, “illogical” route when walking to or from school
Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments
Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
Experiences a loss of appetite
Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem
Long Term Affects
• Victims see themselves as unworthy or inferior, academic
performance sufferers, some believe they deserve the abuse, can
develop a victim mentality, depression, and suicide, difficulty
forming relationships.
• Children who are bullied are more likely than other children to have
lower self-esteem; and higher rates of depression, loneliness,
anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
• They also are more likely to want to avoid attending school and
have higher school absenteeism rates.
• Recent research on the health related effects of bullying indicates
that victims of frequent bullying are more likely to experience
headaches, sleeping problems, and stomach ailments.
Why are the Victims
• Appearance, mannerisms, or just because they don’t fit in.
• Children who have a disability or a chronic illness are also
common targets.
• Victims fit into two categories: passive (anxious, insecure,
etc.) or provocative (hot-tempered, restless, etc.).
- Provocative victims are also at risk of becoming
bullies either category – talented or popular children
are also victimized because some students view the
high achievers as sucking up. This type of bullying is
based on jealousy.
Who Does Bullying Affect?
• Debra Pepler, Research Professor of
Psychology at Work University, identified
bullying as “a disrespectful relationship
• The harmful impacts of bullying are not
inclusive to the bully and the victim; it affects
peers, family members, student culture, and
the community.
Percentage of Students
Engaged in Bullying
About one-tenth (9.9 per cent) said they engaged in consistently high
levels from elementary through high school
• 13.4 per cent said they had reduced from relatively high levels in
elementary school to almost no bullying by the end of high school
• 35.1 per cent said they bullied peers at moderate levels
• 41.6 per cent almost never reported bullying.
• Results from the study also show that children who bullied tended to be
aggressive and have experienced a lot of conflict in their relationship with
their parents. Their relationships with their friends also had a lot of
conflict as well and the bully usually associated with others who bullied.
Problems with Other
• According to a study conducted by scientists at
York University and Queens University, children
who bully also have difficulties with other
relationships, such as with parents or friends.
• Researchers surveyed 871 students (466 girls and
405 boys) for seven years from ages 10 – 18. The
students were asked questions about their
involvement in bullying, their relationships, and
positive or negative behaviours.
• Research from Yale School of Medicine published in the
International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health has
identified an apparent link between bullying or being bullied and
suicide in young people.
• Together with colleague Bennett Leventhal, M.D., Young-Shin Kim
analysed 37 studies into bullying and suicide among children and
adolescents from 13 countries including United States, Canada,
United Kingdom, Germany, South Korea, Japan and South Africa.
• Bullying was found to affect between nine and 54 per cent of
participants. Almost all studies identified connections between
being bullied and suicidal thoughts, with victims between two and
nine times more likely to report experiencing this state of mind.
Perpetrators were also found to be at increased risk of suicidal
Prevention &
Intervention Strategies
School Wide Initiatives
Building A School Wide Foundation:
-Coordinating with other schools in the school district
Students will do best if they receive consistent bullying prevention
training throughout their schooling as they move through grade
levels among schools.
-Assessing the extent of the problem
Handing out school wide surveys to students and staff members to
identify problems
-Create a coordinating team
This group will help develop and implement school wide activities.
School Wide Initiatives
Building A School Wide Foundation:
-Developing a code of conduct
This should involve the entire school community, including students and their parents.
-Establish and consistently enforce consequences for bullying
Consequences should be understood by all students.
-Building students' sense of responsibility
Students should help develop the code of conduct, determine where and how it is displayed
and contribute to school wide activities.
-Distinguish between "tattle tailing "and "reporting."
Most students are hesitant to turn in their classmates. They usually do not want to get their
peers in trouble. Ensuring confidentiality and establishing a safe way for students to report
School Wide Initiatives
-Train school staff
Staff need to know how to identify and respond to bullying as well as how to
demonstrate and reinforce positive problem solving.
-Ensure cultural competence
Written information should be translated into relevant languages.
-Increase adult supervision
Adults should be visible in all common areas of the school.
-Conduct school wide bullying prevention activities
This lets everyone know that bullying is wrong and that everyone has a role in stopping
School Wide Initiatives
Preventative Measures in the Classroom:
-Teach specific skills and values in the classroom
This would be done through adult role modeling, discussions, and
-Integrate skills into other areas of the curriculum whenever possible
Teaching students how to solve their own problems can encourage
problem-solving and leadership skills.
-Hold parent meetings
Parent involvement is a key role. Group discussions teach parents
how to reinforce those skills at home.
How to Approach a Bullied
If you suspect your student is being bullied, remember to support your
student, inform others and take action.
• First, focus on your student. Be supportive and gather information
about the bullying. Tell your student you are concerned about him or
her and ask questions.
• Talk to other staff members who interact with your student to see if
they have observed bullying incidences.
• If you know your student is being bullied, take quick action. There is
nothing worse than doing nothing, and bullying can have serious
What Should Students Do?
1. YOU can help Stop Bullying Now! by talking to adults about bullying!
2. Think about times you have seen bullying happen and write down as much as you can
remember using the questions below as a guide.
Where does it take place?
Who does the bullying?
When does it happen?
3. Find out how bullying is handled at your school.
4. If you haven't been bullied but are close to someone who has and is willing to discuss it,
talk to him or her about what could have been done differently. Here are some
questions you could ask:
Did you tell a parent or teacher?
Did an adult help stop the bullying?
Did any students help you?
What would make you feel safer?
What a Student should Not
Think it's your fault. Nobody deserves to be bullied!
Fight back or bully a person back. This probably won't make things any better and it
might get you into big trouble. Besides, you should try to act better than the person
who bullies you.
Keep it to yourself and just hope the bullying will "go away." It's normal to want to try
to ignore bullying and hope that it will stop–or hope that the person will start to pick on
someone else
Skip school or avoid clubs or sports because you're afraid of being bullied. Missing out
on school or activities that you enjoy isn't the answer. You have a right to be there!
Think that you're a "tattle tale" if you tell an adult that you've been bullied. Telling is
NOT tattling! It's the right thing to do.
Hurt yourself. Some kids who are bullied get so sad and depressed that they may try to
hurt themselves because they think there is nothing else they can do.
What Can Adults Do?
1. Focus on the social environment of the school. In order to reduce bullying,
it is important to change the social climate of the school and the social norms
with regards to bullying. This requires the efforts of everyone in the school
environment—teachers, administrators, counselors and other non-teaching
staff, parents, and students.
2. Assess bullying at your school. Adults are not always very good at
estimating the nature and prevalence of bullying at their school. As a result, it
can be quite useful to administer an anonymous questionnaire to students
about bullying.
3. Obtain staff and parent buy-in and support for bullying prevention. Bullying
prevention should not be the sole responsibility of any single individual at a
school. To be most effective, bullying prevention efforts require buy-in from
the majority of the staff and from parents. However, bullying prevention
efforts should still begin even if immediate buy-in from all isn't achievable.
Usually, more and more supporters will join the effort once they see what it's
What Can Adults Do?
4. Form a group to coordinate the school's bullying prevention activities. Bullying prevention efforts
seem to work best if they are coordinated by a representative group from the school. This
coordinating team might include:
• an administrator
• a teacher from each grade
• a member of the non-teaching staff
• a school counselor or other school-based mental health professional
• a parent
5. The team should meet regularly to review findings from the school's survey; plan specific bullying
prevention activities; motivate staff, students, and parents; and ensure that the efforts continue
over time.
6. Provide training for school staff in bullying prevention. All administrators, faculty and staff at a
school should be trained in bullying prevention and intervention. In-service training can help staff
members to better understand the nature of bullying and its effects, how to respond if they
observe bullying, and how to work with others at the school to help prevent bullying.
7. Establish and enforce school rules and policies related to bullying. Developing simple, clear rules
about bullying can help to ensure that students are aware of adults' expectations that they not
bully others and that they help students who are bullied. School rules and policies should be
posted and discussed with students and parents.
What Can Adults Do?
8. Increase adult supervision in "hot spots" for bullying. Bullying tends to thrive in locations
where adults are not present or are not watchful. Adults should look for creative ways to
increase adult presence in locations that students identify as "hot spots.“
9. Intervene consistently and appropriately when you see bullying. Observed or suspected
bullying should never be ignored by adults. All school staff should learn effective strategies
to intervene on-the-spot to stop bullying. Staff members also should be designated to hold
sensitive follow-up meetings with students who are bullied and (separately) with students
who bully. Staff members should involve parents whenever possible.
10. Devote some class time to bullying prevention. Students can benefit if teachers set aside
a regular period of time (e.g., 20-30 minutes each week or every other week) to discuss
bullying and Improving peer relations. These meetings can help teachers to keep their fingers
on the pulse of students' concerns, allow time for discussions about bullying and the harms
that it can cause, and provide tools for students to address bullying problems. Anti-bullying
messages also can be incorporated throughout the school curriculum.
Tips for Bully Victims
Have the bully victims…
– Stick with groups and never be alone
– Stay in sight of peers and adults
– Speak slowly, firmly and clearly
– Arrive earlier, later or choose a different route to
Dealing with Cyber Bullying
Suggestions for Educators:
• Educate your students, teachers, and other staff members about
cyber bullying, its dangers, and what to do if someone is cyber bullied.
• Be sure that your school’s anti-bullying rules and policies address
cyber bullying.
• Closely monitor students’ use of computers at school.
• Use filtering and tracking software on all computers, but don’t rely
solely on this software to screen out cyber bullying and other
problematic online behavior.
Dealing with Cyber Bullying
Suggestions for Educators
Investigate reports of cyber bullying immediately. If cyber bullying occurs through
the school district’s Internet system, you are obligated to take action. If the cyber
bullying occurs off-campus, consider what actions you might take to help address
the bullying:
– Notify parents of victims and parents of cyber bullies of known or suspected
cyber bullying.
– Notify the police if the known or suspected cyber bullying involves a threat.
– Closely monitor the behavior of the affected students at school for possible
– Talk with all students about the harms caused by cyber bullying. Remember
— cyber bullying that occurs off-campus can travel like wildfire among your
students and can affect how they behave and relate to each other at school.
– Investigate to see if the victim(s) of cyber bullying could use some support
from a school counselor or school-based mental health professional.
Dealing with Cyber Bullying
Suggestions for Educators
• Contact the police immediately if known or suspected cyber bullying
involves acts such as:
Threats of violence
Obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages
Harassment, stalking, or hate crimes
Child pornography
Dealing with Cyber Bullying
Tips for Students:
Don’t respond to the cyber bullying.
Do not erase the messages or pictures. Save these as evidence.
If the cyber bullying is coming through email or a cell phone, it may be
possible to block future contact from the cyber bully. Of course, the cyber
bully may assume a different identity and continue the bullying.
Contact your school. If the cyber bullying is occurring through your school
district’s Internet system, school administrators have an obligation to
intervene. Even if the cyber bullying is occurring off campus, make your
school administrators aware of the problem. They may be able to help you
resolve the cyber bullying or be watchful for face-to-face bullying.
Dealing with Harassment
Educate students on what is harassment specifically sexual, and forms of sexual
Set clear expectation regarding appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
Development of written policies and complaint procedures.
Identify and respond to all incidents.
Create a school climate that supports gender equality and forms of diversity;
Train all school staff to recognize harassment and deal with it appropriately.
How to Support a Bully
Make it clear to the student that you take bullying seriously and that you will not
tolerate this behavior.
Develop clear and consistent rules regarding bullying and appropriate behavior.
Praise and reinforce your student for following rules and use non-physical, non
hostile consequences for rule violations.
Spend more time with your student and carefully supervise and monitor his or her
activities. Find out who your students friends are and how and where they spend
free time.
Build on your students talents by encouraging him or her to get involved in prosocial activities (such as clubs, music lessons, nonviolent sports).
Share your concerns with your students parents, teachers, counselor, or principal.
Work together to send clear messages to your child that his or her bullying must
If you or your student needs additional help, talk with a school counselor or
mental health professional.
How to Support a Bully
• Establish a protocol for intervening in or investigating a bullying incident
-The victim and the bully should be separated. Adults need to find
out if there is a pattern of bullying and the appropriate
consequences. Both bully and victim should be observed more
carefully and parents should be contacted.
• Reinforce alternative behaviors
- Help students to determine more appropriate strategies to express
their feelings or resolve conflicts
• Work with parents
-Student and family counseling may be necessary to help parents
learn new approaches to discipline and positive interactions with
their child.
How to Support a Bully
• Try to get the bully to put themselves in the
victim’s shoes
• Make it a learning situation
• Set up a contract with the bully
• Discuss the bullying event with the bully in an
open discussion
This is a time for the bully and victim to come
together under supervision to discuss what
happened and what will be done in the future.
Each child has the chance to speak and no
fingers should be pointed. Positive team
building activities can be used.
Misguided Bullying
Misguided Bullying Solutions
Zero tolerance policies
Many schools and school districts have adopted “zero tolerance” or “three strikes and
you’re out” policies towards bullying, in which children who bully others are suspended
or expelled from school. These policies (also called “student exclusion” policies) raise
many concerns.
Threats of severe punishments, such as suspension or expulsion, may actually
discourage children and adults from reporting bullying that they observe.
Bullying can be an early marker of other problem behaviors. Children who frequently
bully their peers are at risk of engaging in other problem behaviors such as truancy,
fighting, theft, and vandalism. Children who bully are in need of positive, pro-social role
models, including adults and students in their school.
Although suspension and expulsion of students may be necessary to maintain public
safety in a very small number of cases , these practices are not recommended as a
broad-based bullying prevention or intervention policy.
Misguided Bullying Solutions
Group treatment for children who bully
Another strategy that some schools use to address bullying behavior involves group
therapeutic treatment for children who bully, including anger management, skillbuilding, empathy-building, and seeking ways to build the self-esteem of bullies.
Although these interventions are well-intentioned, they often are counter productive.
Students’ behavior may further deteriorate, as group members tend to serve as role
models and reinforces for each others’ antisocial and bullying behavior.
Simple, short-term solutions
Often, school administrators and their staff adopt a short-term, piecemeal approach
to bullying prevention. Bullying may be the topic of a staff in-service training, a
school-wide assembly, or lessons taught by individual teachers. Although each of
these efforts may represent important initial steps in the adoption of a
comprehensive, long-term bullying prevention strategy, they likely will do little to
significantly reduce bullying problems if implemented in a piecemeal way. To reduce
the prevalence of bullying we need a change in the climate of the school and its
exceptions for student behavior.
Bullying Myths
Bullying Myths
Most bullying is physical (involves hitting,
shoving, kicking).
– The most common form of bullying—both for
boys and girls—is verbal bullying (e.g., namecalling, rumor spreading). It is also common for
youth to bully each other through social isolation
(e.g., shunning or leaving a child out on purpose).
Bullying Myths
Bullying isn’t serious. It’s just a matter of
“kids being kids.”
– Bullying can be extremely serious. Bullying can
affect the mental well being, academic work, and
physical health of children who are targeted.
Bullying Myths
Children and youth who are bullied will almost always tell
an adult.
– Adults are often unaware of bullying—in part because many
children and youth don't report it. Most studies find that only
25%-50% of bullied children talk to an adult about the bullying.
– Boys and older children are less likely than girls and younger
children to tell adults about bullying.
– They may fear retaliation by children doing the bullying.
– They also may fear that adults won't take their concerns
seriously or will deal inappropriately with the bullying situation.
Bullying Myths
Children and youth who bully are mostly loners with
few social skills.
• Children who bully usually do not lack friends. In fact,
some research finds that they have larger friendship
networks than other children.
• Importantly, they usually have at least a small group of
friends who support and encourage their bullying
• Bullies also generally have more leadership skills than
victims of bullying or children not involved in bullying.
Bullying Myths
Bullied kids need to learn how to deal with bullying on their own.
• Some children have the confidence and skills to stop bullying when
it happens, but many do not. Moreover, children shouldn’t be
expected to deal with bullying on their own.
• Bullying is a form of victimization or peer abuse. Just as society
does not expect victims of other types of abuse (e.g., child
maltreatment or domestic abuse) to “deal with it on their own,” we
should not expect this from victims of bullying.
• Adults have critical roles to play in helping to stop bullying, as do
other children who witness or observe bullying.
Bullying Myths
Children and youth who observe bullying don’t want to
get involved.
• The good news is that most children and youth think that
bullying is “not cool” and feel that they should do
something if they see it happen.
• In a recent study of teens, (Brown, Birch, & Kancherla,
2005), 56% said that they usually either say or do
something to try to stop bullying that they observe or tell
someone who could help.
• These children and youth play a critical role in helping stop
bullying in schools and communities.
Resources & References
Bullies: A Serious Problem for Kids - National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)
This site provides characteristics that are commonly present in victims and bullies and also
offers tips to parents and teachers about what they can do to help prevent bullying.
Bullying Prevention and Intervention
This site provides various prevention and intervention strategies for educators to implement.
Family Education Network
Search this site for the phrase “Back-to-School Safety.” Here you will be able to find articles, a
message board, and advice from experts on keeping children safe in school
• Mental Help Net
This site is home to the oldest and largest online mental health
community and indexes over 9000 mental health resources, including
articles on aggression and behaviour disorders.
• School Based Violence Prevention Programs
This is a resource manual for girls and young women emphasizing
prevention programs.
• Science Daily
This site hosts numerous articles regarding science and health issues,
including the latest research about bullying.
• Teen Touch
Operates a confidential, non-judgmental, 24-hour distress line for
teenagers and their families. It is staffed by trained volunteers who are
there to listen, offer options and make referrals.
• Kids help Phone
Operates a 24-hour, toll-free, bilingual, telephone counseling service for
troubled children and youth. Provides emotional support, counseling,
information and referral services.
• Youth resource Center: Winnipeg 477-1804
The services provided include information, referral, informal counseling,
support services and guidance for youth aged 13-21. Also provides shortterm shelter for youth aged 13-17 between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and
9:00 a.m.
Beane, Allan L. The Bully Free Classroom. [Minneapolis]: Free Spirit Publishing
Inc., 1999. Print.
Coloroso, Barbara. The Bully, The Bullied, and The Bystander. [Canada]: Collins,
2003. Print.
Charles, C.M. Building Classroom Discipline. [Boston]: Pearson Education, Inc.,
2011. Print.
Jones, Bern & Louise. Comprehensive Classroom Management: Creating
Communities of Support and Solving Problems. [Boston]: Pearson
Education, Inc., 2007. Print.
Nesbit, W.C. Black Eyes and Bruised Souls: A Portrait of Bullying. [Manitoba]:
Manitoba Council for Exceptional Children, 1999. Print.