According to PACER, bullying is an intentional behavior that hurts, harms, or humiliates a student, either physically or emotionally, and can happen while at school, in the community, or online. Those bullying often have more social or physical “power,” while those targeted have difficulty stopping the behavior. The behavior is typically repeated, though it can be a one-time incident.
It's best to not call a person a bully, as we ALL have the potential to engage in bullying behavior and not even realize its effect on a person or persons. So much of the work in regards to bully prevention focuses on reactive measures, but what can anyone do to prevent bullying from happening? Practicing kindness, acceptance and inclusive measures are steps to make sure bullying doesn't happen. What does that look like in practice?
- Inviting a new kid to eat breakfast or lunch with you at school
- Playing with a kid who's playing alone at recess/healthy activity
- Participating in group work with someone who typically doesn't get invited to work in a group with you
- Being a UPstander to a kid that is experiencing bullying behavior in person or online on social media and/or in group texts
For more information, the following websites are awesome tools to use to assist in bully prevention efforts: