What is Bullying?
Most children have been teased by a sibling or friend at some point. And it’s usually not harmful when done in a playful, friendly, and mutual way, and both children find it funny. When teasing becomes hurtful, unkind, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying.
Bullying is when someone repeatedly and on purpose says or does mean or hurtful things to another person who has a hard time defending himself or herself (Olweus Bullying Prevention Program).
More specifically, “bullying, harassment, or intimidation” means either: violence within a dating relationship, or any intentionally written, electronic act (an act committed through the use of cellular telephone, computer, pager, personal communication device, or other electronic communication device), verbal, graphic, or physical act that a student or group of students exhibit more than once, toward another student (s) and the behavior both:
- Causes mental or physical harm to the other student(s);
- Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for the other student(s).
- “Bullying, harassment, or intimidation” includes, but is not limited to, conduct that is based on a student’s actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, religion or any other distinguishing characteristics that may be defined by the district or state educational agency. This also includes association with a person or group with one or more of the above-mentioned characteristics, whether actual or perceived.
Bullying involves an imbalance of power. In a bullying situation, the student who is exposed to negative actions has difficulty defending themselves and is somewhat helpless against the student who is bullying. The student may actually be physically or emotionally weaker than the other student, or may perceive that they are physically or emotionally weaker (source: Olweus Bullying Prevention Program).