What is Bullying?

Bullying is a form of violence.

There is a great difference between social relationships in ‘growing up’ and systematically enabled bullying, cyberbullying, and harassment.


Bullying can be verbal, social, or physical

There are several different types of bullying:

-School bullying [threats, taunting, intimidation, inappropriate sexual comments]
-Relational aggression [relationship manipulation, isolation, rumors, “Mean Girls”]
-Physical assault [including hitting, spitting, theft or breaking another person’s property]
-Cyberbullying [severe electronic forms of bullying]
-Bias-based bullying and discrimination
-Sexual harassment


Bullying typically involves three different parties:

Aggressors/bullies

Targets/victims

Bystanders/observers

Generally, when aggressive or harmful behavior is not caught or stopped, it sends a message to students that it is acceptable and can rapidly escalate to more advanced violence.


The impacts of bullying include:

For targets/victims: Suffered psychological well-being (depression, anxiety, etc.), absenteeism (avoiding school), decreased academic performance.

For aggressors/bullies: Negative social development which generally leads to adult forms of bullying including domestic and sexual violence, criminal behavior, and discrimination.


Why do students bully?
Social development can sometimes influence youth to find and retain ”power” over others. This can be because of learned social behaviors from parents (or role models) or displaced retaliation (from individual psychology or from being bullied themselves).


Bullying is a behavior. It is important to remember that students who become aggressors need resources and support to end their current actions and prevent future violence – as well as addressing any underlying issues of why they would engage in that activity.


In some of the most devastating circumstances, targets/victims may consider self-harm including suicide. Bullying is rarely a direct cause for suicide – but rather a trigger for emotional and psychological issues leading to consideration of self-harm. Very few cases involve retaliatory violence (Virginia Tech, Columbine). The impacts of bullying are absolutely real and deeply felt throughout our communities.


Our schools should be safe for all students to learn
and have a positive social development.