"Bullying" means any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communication made in writing or by means of an electronic act, and including one or more acts committed by a pupil or group of pupils as defined in Education Code Section 48900.2 (sexual harassment), 48900.3 (hate violence), or 48900.4 (harassment, threats, or intimidation towards school employees), directed toward one or more pupils that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following:
- Placing a reasonable pupil or pupils in fear of harm to that pupil's or those pupils' person or property.
- Causing a reasonable pupil to experience a substantially detrimental effect on his or her physical or mental health.
- Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her academic performance.
- Causing a reasonable pupil to experience substantial interference with his or her ability to participate in or benefit from the services, activities, or privileges provided by a school.
We now know that:
Bullying is NOT
pre-wired, harmless, or inevitable
learned, harmful, and controllable
if supported or left unchecked
everyone-bullies, victims, and bystanders
Bullying CAN BE
effectively stopped or entirely prevented
what should I do if i'm being bullied?
Being bullied can be embarrassing, scary and very hurtful, but you should know that you don't have to put up with being bullied. It is NOT a normal part of growing up. Bullying is wrong. Bullying is something some people learn, that means it is something we can change and there are things we can do to deal with bullying. Here are some things we all can do to stop bullying:
- Talk to the bully if it feels safe to do so.
- Avoid engaging in verbal and/or written insults with the bully. This could lead to more aggression from the bully.
- Seek out an adult or peer immediately if you feel unsafe. The peer should help you to get out of the situation and find an adult to help you. The adult should show support, help you develop a response strategy and follow-up to make sure the bullying does not continue.
- Write down what happened. Who was bullying? Where did it happen? Who did what? Who saw it?
- If you continue to be bullied, keep telling adults until the situation is resolved.
- Learn about what bullying is and then share this with others, like your parents, friends, teachers, sport coaches and others. A lot of adults believe that bullying is just a normal part of life, IT'S NOT -BE the change! And teach them that people should not just accept bullying.
- You need to know that you are NOT alone in being bullied. Being bullied is embarrassing, scary and hurtful, it is normal to feel scared if you are being bullied, but being bullied is NOT normal and you shouldn't have to live with being bullied!
- You need to know that being bullied is NOT your fault. Bullies might tell you mean things about yourself, but don't believe them. Bullies will say whatever they can to try and have power over you. Don't let them!
- You need to know that there are lots of things you can do to help bullying stop, for yourself and for others.
- Telling is not tattling. Telling we do to help make things safer and better. Tattling is what people do when they want to get someone else in trouble on purpose.
- Be brave When you're scared of another person, it's hard to be brave. But sometimes just acting brave is enough to stop a bully. If you act as though you're not afraid, it may be enough for a people who bully to leave you alone.
- Stay calm and don't act upset or angry: bullies love to get a reaction. Practice what you'll do and say the next time it happens. If you don't act upset or react the way they want you to, they may get bored and stop.
- Ignore the people who bully. Try to ignore a bully's threats. If you can walk away, it takes a bullies power away because they want you to feel bad about yourself. Don't react. Don't let the people who bully win!
- If ignoring them won't work, tell the people who are bullying to stop, say "Cut it out!", "That's not funny!", "How'd you like it if someone did that to you?" Let the people who bully know that what he or she is doing is stupid and mean.
- Stand up, don't stand back. Kids can stand up for each other by telling people who bully to stop teasing or hurting someone else. You shouldn't try and fight the people who bully. This almost always makes things worse. Walk up to the person being bullied, talk with them and then walk away together.
- Refuse to join in and don't just sit back and watch. The bully wants an audience. You give bullies power when you watch. If you aren't part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
- Be a friend. Kids who are being bullied can sure use a friend. Walk with a friend or two on the way to school or recess or lunch or wherever you think you might meet the bully. Offer to do the same for someone else who's having trouble with a bully. Look out for kids who are new to school, or those kids who always seem to be alone.
- Join a club, a team, or a group. This is a great way to make new friends. This really helps when you are new to school.
- Don't fight back. First of all it's a dangerous thing to. Secondly, it usually makes things worse for everyone. Besides, you can't bully a bully into changing the way they are acting. Stay with others, stay safe, and get help from an adult.
- Sit or walk near an adult or friend. Sit near the bus driver. Walk with a teacher or friend during recess or lunchtime.
- Take a different path to and from school.
- Leave at different time to avoid situations or bullies.
- Involve as many people as possible, including other friends or classmates, parents, teachers, school counselors, and the principal.
Some information provided by www.bullying.org
A culture of silence often surrounds bullying. Many children who are bullied never tell anyone.
Most bullying is not reported because children . . .
- Don't recognize it as bullying
- Are embarrassed
- Don't want to appear weak
- Believe they deserve it
- Want to belong
- Fear retaliation
- Don't know how to talk about it
- Don't have a trusted adult to confide in
- Think adults won't understand
- Think nothing can be done about it
Just because you don't see it, and others don't talk about it, doesn't mean bullying isn't happening. Even when children fail to report bullying, they often show warning signs.
What are some warning signs of bullying?
- Unexplained damage or loss of clothing and other personal items
- Evidence of physical abuse, such as bruises and scratches
- Loss of friends; changes in friends
- Reluctance to participate in activities with peers
- Loss of interest in favorite activities
- Unusually sad, moody, anxious, lonely, or depressed
- Problems with eating, sleeping, bed-wetting
- Headaches, stomachaches, or other physical complaints
- Decline in school achievement
- Thoughts of suicide
Some students may withdraw, while others may get angry and seek revenge. Don't assume the problem will go away on its own: talk about what is bothering you or another student. If you or another student are being bullied:
- Show support - Be a helpful bystander!
- Report the behavior to your parent and/or a staff member at school to make sure the bullying does not continue.
- Help develop a response strategy
Cyber-bullying is a growing form of bullying that is especially hard to see. Cyberbullying involves sending or posting hurtful, embarrassing, or threatening text or images using the Internet, cell phones, or other digital communication devices. Using these technologies, cyberbullies can reach a wide group of people very quickly. Their goal: to damage their victim's reputation and friendships.
Cyber-bullying can involve:
- Spreading rumors or posting false or private information
- Getting other people to post or send hurtful messages
- Excluding someone from an online group
Young people cyberbully for many reasons. Some do it to deal with their anger, seek revenge, or make themselves appear better than their peers. Others do it for entertainment or for the pleasure of tormenting others. Still others do it simply because they can. By remaining anonymous, and avoiding face-to-face contact, cyberbullies may not realize the consequences of their actions. As a result, they are more likely to say and do things they might hesitate to say or do in person. And young people are often hesitant to report cyberbullying because they are afraid that doing so will lead to restrictions on their own Internet or cell phone use or they believe nothing can be done to stop it.
Some things YOU can do to help prevent cyber-bullying and to help you from being a cyber-bully:
- Use the Internet and cell phones in a safe and responsible manner.
- Do not to share any personal information online.
- Tell your parent or another responsible adult if you are being cyberbullied or know others who are.
- Before you send a message that may not be appropriate, put down the mouse and step away from the computer before you hit "send."
- Think before you click "send." Walk away for awhile and then come back and re-read your message. It is very easy to misunderstand e-mails and cyber-communications. Be cautious and if you have any doubt - Don't Send It!
- Don't attack others online, say anything that could be considered insulting or that is controversial.
- Don't respond to a message when you are angry. Take a time-out to think.
- Remember, once you send it, you can't get it back!
Bullying is about the abuse of power. Children who bully abuse their power to hurt others, deliberately and repeatedly. They are often hot-tempered, inflexible, overly confident, and don't like to follow rules. They often lack empathy and may even enjoy inflicting pain on others. They often desire to dominate and control others, perceive hostile intent where none exists, overreact aggressively to ambiguous situations, and hold beliefs that support violence.
Sometimes children bully in groups. Children may join in because they look up to the bully and want to impress him or her, or because they are afraid and do not want to be attacked themselves.
Examining the Effects on the Bully
Besides hurting others, bullies damage themselves. Each time bullies hurt other children, they become even more removed emotionally from the suffering of their victims. They learn to justify their actions by believing their victims deserve to be bullied. They also learn that the way to get what they want from others is through force. Bullies often fail to develop the social skills of sharing, reciprocating, empathizing, and negotiating that form the basis for lasting friendships.
As they mature into adulthood, children who have bullied others often show higher rates of:
- Antisocial behavior
- Carrying weapons to school
- Dropping out of high school
- Convictions for crime
- Difficulty controlling their emotions
- Traffic violations
- Convictions for drunk driving
Victims of bullying include girls and boys of all ages, sizes, and backgrounds. But some children are more likely than others to be victimized because they appear small, weak, insecure, sensitive, or "different" from their peers.
Some children can reduce their risk of being bullied by dressing or acting in ways that make it easier for them to "fit in." Yet children should not be expected to conform to avoid the threat of bullying. Every child's individuality should be appreciated for the value it brings to the group, rather than suppressed to reduce the risk of victimization. Furthermore, not all children are able to alter personal characteristics that may place them at increased risk.
Victims tend to share
these characteristics and tendencies:
- Low self-confidence
- Depression or sad appearance
- Limited sense of humor
- Below-average size, strength, or coordination
- Feelings of helplessness
- Self-blame for problems
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Poor social skills
- Low popularity
- Few or no friends
- Excessive dependence on adults
Children who are repeatedly bullied tend to be passive. They inadvertently reward the bully by crying, giving over their possessions, or running away in fear. Some victims also provoke negative responses from others by behaving in socially inappropriate ways. They may trigger conflict or ridicule and then overreact with anger and exasperation.
Potential victims can reduce their risk of being bullied by learning how to:
- Exhibit self-confidence
- Avoid the bully's tactics
- Respond with assertiveness
- Obtain support from others
Examining the Effects on the Victim
Victims of bullying suffer a wide range of harmful effects-both immediately and for years to come. While under the influence of a bully, victims may show many signs of physical, emotional, and social distress. They often feel tense, anxious, tired, listless, and sad. Some children lose their confidence, become socially isolated, do poorly in school, or refuse to go to school. They may also show high levels of:
- Skin problems
- Abdominal pain
- Sleep problems
Bullying situations usually involve more than the bully and the victim. They also involve bystanders-those who watch bullying happen or hear about it.
An important new strategy for bullying prevention focuses on the powerful role of the bystander. Depending on how bystanders respond, they can either contribute to the problem or the solution. Bystanders rarely play a completely neutral role, although they may think they do.
Some bystanders . . . instigate the bullying by prodding the bully to begin.
Other bystanders . . . encourage the bullying by laughing, cheering, or making comments that further stimulate the bully.
And other bystanders . . . join in the bullying once it has begun.
Most bystanders . . . passively accept bullying by watching and doing nothing. Often without realizing it, these bystanders also contribute to the problem. Passive bystanders provide the audience a bully craves and the silent acceptance that allows bullies to continue their hurtful behavior.
Bystanders also have the power to play a key role in preventing or stopping bullying.
Some bystanders . . . directly intervene, by discouraging the bully, defending the victim, or redirecting the situation away from bullying.
Other bystanders . . . get help, by rallying support from peers to stand up against bullying or by reporting the bullying to adults.
Examining the Effects on The Bystander
Why don't more bystanders intervene?
- They think, "It's none of my business."
- They fear getting hurt or becoming another victim.
- They feel powerless to stop the bully.
- They don't like the victim or believe the victim "deserves" it.
- They don't want to draw attention to themselves.
- They fear retribution.
- They think that telling adults won't help or it may make things worse.
- They don't know what to do.
Bystanders who don't intervene or don't report the bullying often suffer negative consequences themselves. They may experience:
- Pressure to participate in the bullying
- Anxiety about speaking to anyone about the bullying
- Powerlessness to stop bullying
- Vulnerability to becoming victimized
- Fear of associating with the victim, the bully, or the bully's pals
- Guilt for not having defended the victim
what you need to know
If you are a BULLY . . .
- Stop the bullying immediately.
- Bullying behaviors will not be tolerated.
- Bullying hurts your victim and you.
- Bullying sets a bad example for other children.
- Bullying may cause you to lose friends.
- Every child deserves to be treated with respect.
- There are other ways to solve conflicts.
- Ask adults for help if you feel angry or upset, or don't know how to stop bullying.
If you are a VICTIM . . .
- You are not responsible for a bully's behavior. It's not your fault.
- Don't respond to bullies by giving in, getting upset, or fighting back-this will encourage them. Instead, stay calm and be assertive.
- Sometimes the best response is no response-just walk away.
- Get help from a trusted adult. Adults can help you figure out new ways to respond the next time a bully bothers you.
If you are a BYSTANDER . . .
- Your involvement makes a difference. Don't just stand by and watch quietly.
- Stand up for the person being bullied. If you feel safe, tell the bully to stop. Use phrases such as "Stop teasing!" "Don't fight!" "Leave him alone!" and "It's not funny!"
- Don't join in. Don't laugh at the victim or participate in the teasing, harassing, or fighting. This encourages the bully to continue and can make the situation worse.
- Help the victim walk away. A victim may be too afraid to leave on his or her own, but will do so with the help of a friend.
- Encourage other bystanders to help the victim. Tell them not to join in the bullying.
- Get help from a trusted adult. Report the bullying.
- Afterward, tell the victim you feel bad about what happened. Encourage victims to talk to an adult, and offer to go with them.
- Include the victim in activities. Be a good friend.
Information provided by www.eyesonbullying.org
Helpful tool for parents who need assistance in monitoring instant messaging and social netowrking sites.
Spector Pro - www.spectorsoft.com
Monitors keystrokes typed, chats/IM's, email, web sites, Facebook, remote viewing, online searches, program activity, keyword alerts, website blocking, video-style playback
Bullying.org is dedicated to increasing the awareness of bullying and to preventing, resolving, and eliminating bullying in society.
U.S. Department of Education bullying prevention and response.
A California Department of Education website with resources available on bullying prevention.
- Reviews and ratings on movies, games, websites, TV, books and music
- Information on the impact of media on children's physical, mental and social development
- Tips for parents on how to manage their children's media
- Resources for educators
- Myths and facts about cyberbullying
- Resources for youth
- Depression assessment
- Suggestions for youth to get involved with activities outside of school
Preventing bullying in the digital age.
The Digizen website provides information for educators, parents, and young people. It is used to strengthen their awareness and understanding of what digital citizenship is and encourages users of technology to be and become responsible digital citizens.
Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN): Provides resources and support for schools to implement effective and age-appropriate anti-bullying programs to improve school climate for all students.
Gay-Straight Alliance Network connects school-based Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) to each other an dcommunity resources through peer support, leadership development, and training.
Ikeepsafe.org's mission is to give parents, educators, and policy makers the information and tools which empower them to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology and the Internet.
The Trevor Project is the leading national organizationfocused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
Teaching tolerance: Bullied is a documentary film that chronicles one student's ordeal at the hands of anti-gay bullies and offers an isnpiring message of hope to those fighting harassment today.
BOOKS FOR ADULTS
12 Strategies That Will End Female Bullying by Cherly Dellasega and Charisse Nixon
Breaking the Culture of Bullying and Disrespect, Grades K-8: Best Practices and Successful Strategies by M. Beaudoin and M. Taylor
Bullying and Harassment: Legal Guide for Educators by Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development
Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do by D. Olweus
Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard: Preventing and REsponding to Cyberbullying by S. Hinduja and J.W. Patchin
Bullying from Both Sides - Strategic Interventions for Working with Bullies and Victims by Walter B. Roberts, Jr.
Bullying in Schools: What You Need to Know by Paul Langan
Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats: Responding to the Challenge of Online Social Aggression, Threats, and Distress by N.E. Willard and K. Steiner
Empowering Bystanders in Bullying Prevention - Grades K-8, by Stand Davis
Girl Wars: 12 Strategies that Will End Female Bullying by C. Dellasega and C. Nixon
Schools Where Everyone Belongs by Stan Davis
Sticks and Stones - 7 Ways for Children to Deal with Teasing, Conflict and Other Hard Times by Scott Cooper
The ABC's of Bullying Prevention by K.Shore
The Bullyfree Classroom - 100 Tips and Strategies for Teachers K-8 by Allan L. Beane
The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander by Barbara Coloroso
Working with Parents of Bullies and Victims by Walter B. Roberts, Jr.
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Amelia Takes Command by M. Moss
Baseball Ballerina Strikes Out by K. McKeon
Bullies are a Pain in the Brain by T. Romain (For grades 3-7)
Bullying by P. Sanders (For ages 9-12)
Dealing with Bullying by M. Johnston (For grades K-4)
King of the Kootes by D. Dadey
Loudmouth George and the Sixth-Grade Bully by N. Carlson
Marianthe's Story: Painted Words/Spoken Memories by Akili
Mean Mean Maureen Green by J. Cox
Stop Picking on Me by P. Thomas and L. Harker (For ages 4-8)
Talking About Bullying by J. Powell (For grades 1-3)
Thank You, Mr. Falker by P. Polacco
The Berenstain Bears and the Bully by S. Berenstain
The Girls by A. Koss
Weirdo's War by M. Coleman
Why is Everybody Always Picking on Me? A Guide to Handling Bullies by T. WEbster-Doyle (For ages 9-12)
A Parent's Guide to Facebook by Anne Collier and Larry Magid
Bullying: It's Not OK by The American Academy of Pediatrics
A Mini-Guide for Parents: Together We Can Be Bully Free by Allan L. Beane, Ph.D. (free from Spirit Publishing)
Chatting With Kids About Being Online by NET CETERA Net_Cetera_Full_Color
Chatting With Kids About Being Online PowerPoint Presentation by NET CETERA OnGuard Online Net_Cetera_Presentation
Heads Up: Stop, Think, Click Student Instructional Pamphlet by OnGuard Online Heads_Up_Full_Color
No Place For Hate Community Resource Guide by The Anti-Defamation League
BOOKS ABOUT BULLYING
In this article in School Library Journal, librarian Joy Fleishhacker recommends the following books to spark discussion on the subject of bullying:
• Bully by Patricia Polacco, grades 4-6 (Putnam, 2012) - This illustrated middle-school drama deals with cyberbullying, pressure to dump a boyfriend, and exclusion.
• The Bully Book by Eric Kahn Gale, grades 5-7 (HarperCollins/Harper, 2013) - An entire sixth-grade class turns on a boy, revealing the mindset and methods of the bully.
• Bystander by James Preller, grades 6-9 (Feiwel & Friends, 2009) - A boy takes a stand against a bully, only to become the next victim.
• Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli, grades 5-7 (Knopf, 2013) - Jack lives in a day-dreamy world in which kids do as they please and adults are nowhere to be found, but it has to end…
• Slob by Ellen Potter, grades 6-8 (Philomel, 2009) - Owen is overweight and super-smart - the perfect magnet for bullies (including a sadistic P.E. teacher) in his progressive New York City school.
• The Truth About Truman School by Dori Hillestad Butler, grades 5-8 (Albert Whitman, 2008) - An underground website designed to let students discuss the truth about their school is invaded by anonymous posts harassing a popular girl.
• Warp Speed by Lisa Yee, grades 5-9 (Scholastic/Arthur A. Levine, 2011) - A bullied student becomes a track star, revealing truths about him and his tormentors.
• Girls Against Girls: Why We Are Mean to Each Other and How We Can Change by Bonnie Burton, grades 6-10 (Zest, 2011) - A well-researched text written in a chatty style explores malicious gossiping, social shunning, and verbal abuse.
• Teen Cyberbullying Investigated: Where Do Your Rights End and Consequences Begin? by Tom Jacobs, grades 7 and up (Free Spirit, 2010) - Judge Jacobs introduces landmark court cases involving teens and tweens involved in cyberbullying.
• We Want You to Know: Kids Talk About Bullying by Deborah Ellis, grades 5-9 (Coteau, 2010) - Kids 9 to 19 talk about their experiences as victims, bullies, and bystanders - eye-opening, intimate, shocking, and hope-filled, says Fleishhacker.
"Bullied: Middle-Grade Books to Spark Discussion" by Joy Fleishhacker in School Library Journal, April 2013 (Vol. 59, #4, p. 36-38), www.slj.com.