Bullying is detrimental to students’ well-being and development.

Students knocking themselves.

School bullying is a type of bullying that occurs in connection with education, either inside or outside of school. Bullying can be physical, verbal, or emotional and is usually repeated over a period of time.[1][2]

Many educational institutions have implemented anti-bullying campaigns. Studies in Norway and England confirm these programs can be effective. The programs usually focus on increasing awareness and supervision, establishing clear rules, and providing support and protection for victims.

Types of school bullying

Physical bullying

File:School bullying laws in the United States-2.svg

Some states of the United States have implemented laws to address school bullying.

  Law prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity
  Law prohibits bullying of students based on sexual orientation
  School regulation or ethical code for teachers that address bullying of students based on sexual orientation
  Law prohibits bullying in school but lists no categories of protection
  No statewide law that specifically prohibits bullying in schools

A bully, portrayed in the 1917 silent film Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Examples of physical bullying include:[1]

Emotional bullying

Examples of emotional bullying include:[1]

  • spreading malicious rumors about people
  • keeping certain people out of a "group"
  • getting certain people to "gang up" on others (It also could be considered physical bullying)
  • ignoring people on purpose - the silent treatment
  • harassment
  • provocation
  • whispering to another in front of someone - whispering campaign
  • keeping secrets away from a so-called friend

Verbal bullying

Examples of verbal bullying:


Cyber-bullying occurs when someone bullies through the Internet, mobile phones or other electronic means.[1] Examples include:

  • sending mean-spirited text, e-mail, or instant messages.
  • posting inappropriate pictures or messages about others in blogs or on web sites
  • using someone else's user name to spread rumors or lies about someone.

Sexual bullying

Sexual bullying is "any bullying behaviour, 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."[3]

As part of its research into sexual bullying in schools, the BBC Panorama programme commissioned a questionnaire aimed at young people aged 11–19 years in schools and youth clubs across five regions of England.[4] The survey revealed that of the 273 young people who responded to the questionnaire, 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.[5] UK Government figures show that in school year 2007/8 there were 3,450 fixed period exclusions and 120 expulsions from schools in England due to sexual misconduct.[6] This includes incidents such as groping and using sexually insulting language. From April 2008 to March 2009, ChildLine counselled a total of 156,729 children. Of these, 26,134 children spoke about bullying as a main concern and 300 of these talked specifically about sexual bullying.[3]

Some people including the UK charity Beatbullying have claimed that children are being bullied into providing ‘sexual favours’ in exchange for protection as gang culture enters inner city schools,[7] however other anti-bullying groups and teachers' unions including the National Union of Teachers challenged the charity to provide evidence of this as they had no evidence that this sort of behaviour was happening in schools.[7]

Homophobic bullying

Doctor Melinda Gentry Executive Director of an Atlanta Based Non-Profit created a task force that addressed the issue of bullying as it relates to sexual orientation. "After working in Atlanta Publics Schools, Atlanta, Georgia, I experienced bullying first hand. Due to my sexual orientation my co-workers rallied to have me demoted so that I was not in charge of them. I was told that I was not wanted or welcome in the school. I was hired to empower children and as a resort I was demoralized. There was no support in the community. People need to be represented, I am an advocate for Human Rights of LGBT individuals in the community. These individuals pay taxes, raise articulate citizens and they love and respect others; they deserve receprocity. I know from my own experience that bullying takes place in elementary and secondary schools. People in positions of authority dont always respect diversity. The House of Pink Inc is working to create straegies to combat school bullying. It is unacceptable for adults and/ or children to be bullyed in schools based on the premises of thier sexuality. Schools need a unified system that strategically addresses issues such as bullying and violence. "These issues are often minimized but have a very long lasting affect on the individuals involved. Victims of bullying become victims of domestic violence in the future. Bullying is a precursor for other acts of civil and criminal violations. The studies on the number of children and adults who become suicidal or murdered in hate crime acts are ridiculously high and there needs to be something done now" Doctor Melinda Gentry[clarification needed]

In the United Kingdom, the Equality and Human Rights Commission reported in 2010 that "Homophobic bullying is widespread in British secondary schools. Nearly half of all secondary schoolteachers in England acknowledge that such bullying is common, and just 1 in 6 believe that their school is very active in promoting respect for LGB students."[8]

School shooting

School shootings have focused attention on student bullying, with shooters in several of the worst shootings reporting they were bullied. Many school shooters who committed suicide left evidence behind that suggested that they wanted revenge on school bullies, such as Jeffrey Weise, Edmar Aparecido Freitas, Brian Head, Nathan Ferris, Kimveer Gill, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

Strategies to cope with bullying

Teaching pupils about historical figures who were gay, or who suffered discrimination because of their sexuality, has been reported to be one very effective preventative strategy for reducing homophobia and homophobic bullying in schools.[9]

Helping victims at school

Template:Inappropriate tone Many of the responsibilities of members of a school team are that they need to help the victims of bullying. Education is key, if we want to put a stop to bullying we need to act, we need to spread the word that bullying is something that can be not only stopped but also prevented.[10] The following strategies may be considered:

  1. Speak with the victim and ask them if they want to do anything about it, if they refuse take your part and start investigating.
  2. After investigating the situation, it may be that intervention is necessary with the bully or bullies. The situation needs to be addressed. Ideally, a resolution to the problem will be found.
  3. Inform the parents of the victim and of the bully. Discuss possible solutions with them. Arrange a meeting with them if possible.
  4. Follow up in communicating with the victim, the parents and the teachers about the situation.
  5. Monitor the behavior of the bully and the safety of the victim on a school-wide basis.
  6. If the problem continues speak with the parents of the bully again and consider the idea of expulsion of the bully if problems continue, bullies normally attack not only one child but more than one, and normally 3 to 4 children are the attackers, find out exactly who they are.
  7. Finally you should decide for yourself the punishment, it depends on how they attacked the children, how many they have been attacking, since when has it been a problem, etc

Strategies to reduce bullying within schools

Researchers (Olweus, 1993;[11] Craig & Peplar, 1999;[12] Ross, 1998;[13] Morrison, 2002;[14] Whitted & Dupper, 2005;[15] Aynsley-Green, 2006;[16]) provide several strategies which address ways to help reduce bullying, these include:

  • Make sure an adult knows what is happening to their children.
  • Actually enforce anti bully laws.
  • Make it clear that bullying is never acceptable.
  • Recognise that bullying can occur at all levels within the hierarchy of the school (i.e., including adults).
  • Hold a school conference day or forum devoted to bully/victim problems.
  • Increase adult supervision in the yard, halls and washrooms more vigilantly.
  • Emphasize caring, respect and safety.
  • Emphasize consequences of hurting others.
  • Enforce consistent and immediate consequences for aggressive behaviors.
  • Improve communication among school administrators, teachers, parents and students.
  • Have a school problem box where kids can report problems, concerns and offer suggestions.
  • Teach cooperative learning activities.
  • Help bullies with anger control and the development of empathy.
  • Encourage positive peer relations.
  • Offer a variety of extracurricular activities which appeal to a range of interests
  • Teach your child to defend himself or herself, verbally and physically, if necessary.
  • Keep in mind the range of possible causes: e.g., medical, psychiatric, psychological, developmental, family problems, etc.
  • If problems continue in your school, press harassment charges against the family of the person who is bullying you.

In popular culture

Bullies frequently appear as antagonists in TV shows about young people. For example, on the TV series Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm's older brother, Reese, is notoriously known as the school and neighborhood bully. The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air also featured a bully who picked on Ashley Banks and who comes from a bullying family. On the now-late Nickelodeon series, 100 Deeds for Eddie McDowd, the titular character was a bully who was transformed into a dog and must comnplete 100 good deeds before being turned back into a human.

The Stephen King novel, Carrie and its respective film adaptation include bullying as a main plot; the heroine, Carrie White is viciously bullied at school by a clique of wicked girls led by Chris Hargensen.

Bullies are featured in the 1980 film My Bodyguard where a hotelier's son attends a public high school and harassed - features a young Matt Dillon as the lead bully (his second role as a villain).

A major plot of the 1984 film The Karate Kid has school bullies who are members of a martial arts dojo run by an ex-Special Forces Vietnam veteran; the lead bully is seen using illegal drugs during a Halloween dance.

The British slasher film Tormented features bullying as a major theme, as the film's "slasher", Darren Mullet, an overweight, unpopular nerd, is bullied to the point of suicide by the school's most popular students. The film was praised for its portrayal of cyber-bullying and how bullying is not always limited to the school students; the tutors in Tormented are seen to deliberately overlook the shy, vulnerable students and allow the in-crowd to get away with their cruel behaviour.

In the musical Missing Mel (in association with Youth Music Theatre: UK), there is an entire number that revolves around two twins bullying a girl named Lauren. This musical has been praised for raising the awareness of the harm bullying can do to a victim.[citation needed]

In Mean Girls, the school's four most popular girls emotionally pick on others, and write a "Burn Book", which includes malicious gossip, rumors, and secrets about the other girls in their school. After copies of the pages of the Burn Book are scattered around the school, the girls realize their humiliating secrets have been revealed to the entire school and attack their friends, which also leads to bullying because all the girls are fighting in the hallways, etc. when they find out who is cheating on whom, rumors, and what friends said behind their backs, etc.

The book series "The Clique" is about rich girls who fight over boys, pick on others, and are totally spoiled by their parents. The leader, Massie Block, also set up a game about "Gossip Points", which has no real reward, making the other 'members' tell her all gossip they heard. Only for 'points' that have no reward (such as money) makes it pointless, except so Massie knows other girls' secrets which she uses to blackmail people. And the fact that they go to an all-girls school makes the gossip worse.

In the Harry Potter books and film adaptations, Draco Malfoy (his father, Lucius, is also a bully) verbelly taunts Harry (because he has no parents and his fame), Ron (because he is poor), and Hermione (because of her blood status) with the help of his "friends" Crabbe and Goyle. Also Professer Severus Snape, who teaches potions, bullies his students, especially Harry, Ron, Hermione, and Neville Longbottom and overlooks any wrongdoing by those who are in Slytherin (who he is head of house of). In the past, to Harry's shock, James Potter, with the help of Sirius Black and Peter Pettigrew while Remus Lupin was a bystander, bullied Snape relentlessly while they were students at Hogwarts.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Stop Bullying Now! Information, Prevention, Tips, and Games.
  2. Teen Bully
  3. 3.0 3.1 "The NSPCC working definition of Sexual Bullying". NSPCC. http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/resourcesforteachers/classroomresources/sexual_bullying_definition_wdf68769.pdf. Retrieved 22 April 2010. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "NSPCC02" defined multiple times with different content
  4. "Rising problem of sexual bullying in schools". BBC Panorama. 5 January 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_7811000/7811468.stm. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  5. "What is sexual bullying and how can I manage it within educational settings?". NSPCC. http://www.nspcc.org.uk/Inform/research/questions/sexual_bullying_wda70106.html. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  6. "Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusions from Schools in England 2007/08". UK Government's Department for Children, Schools and Families. 30 July 2009. http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s000860/index.shtml. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  7. 7.0 7.1 "Girls bullied for 'sex favours'". BBC. 27 March 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6500005.stm. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
  8. "How fair is Britain? the first Triennial Review". Equality and Human Rights Commission. http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/key-projects/triennial-review/online-summary/education/. Retrieved 08 November 2010.
  9. "Lessons on gay history cut homophobic bullying in north London school". The Guardian. 26 October 2010. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/oct/26/gay-history-lessons-bullying-schools. Retrieved 09 November 2010.
  10. Thames Valley District School Board (2006). Safeschools. London, Ontario
  11. Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Oxford Blackwell Publishers.
  12. Craig, W.M. & Peplar, D.J. (1999). Children who bully - Will they just grow out of it? Orbit, 29 (4), 16 - 19.
  13. Ross, P.N. (1998). Arresting violence: a resource guide for schools and their communities. Toronto: Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation.
  14. Morrison, B. (2002). Bullying and victimisation in schools: a restorative justice approach. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice. No.219; Feb. 2002. Australian Institute of Criminology.
  15. Whitted, K.S. & Dupper, D.R. (2005). Best Practices for Preventing or Reducing Bullying in Schools. Children and Schools, Vol. 27, No. 3, July 2005 , pp. 167-175(9).
  16. BULLYING TODAY: A Report by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner UK, with Recommendations and Links to Practitioner Tools. Nov. 2006. (retrieved 12.12.2007)

Further reading

External links

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