http://www.StopBullying.gov defines bullying as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
8 Facts About Bullying Everyone Should Know:
- Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. It is a mistake to assume that all bullies are loners or have low self-esteem.
- Anyone can become a victim of bullying. While there are certain attributes that often lead bullies to target someone, it is a mistake to assume there is one type of target.
- Bullying can happen at any age. While bullying often starts in late elementary school and peaks in middle school, it is important to point out that bullying can start as young as preschool.
- There are six types of bullying including physical bullying, verbal bullying, relational (social) aggression, cyber-bullying, prejudicial bullying, and sexual bullying.
- Boys and girls bully differently.
- Those victimized by bullying often don’t report it.
- Usually there are witnesses to bullying yet the common reaction for these bystanders is to simply stand by and do nothing.
- Bullying has significant consequences.
Top Ten Facts Parents, Educators, and Students Need to Know: (http://www.pacer.org)
- The Facts – Students with disabilities are much more likely to be bullied than their non-disabled peers.
- Bullying affects a student’s ability to learn.
- The definition – bullying based on a student’s disability may be considered harassment
- The Federal Laws – disability harassment is a civil rights issue.
- The State Laws – students with disabilities have legal rights when they are a target of bullying.
- The adult response is important.
- The Resources – students with disabilities have resources that are specifically designed for their situation.
- The Power of Bystanders – more than 50% of bullying situations stop when a peer intervenes.
- The importance of self-advocacy.
- You are not alone.
Signs a Child is Being Bullied: (www.stopbullying.gov)
Look for changes in the child; however, be aware that not all children who are bullied exhibit warning signs. Some signs that may point to a bullying problem are:
- Unexplainable injuries,
- Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry,
- Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness,
- Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating,
- Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares,
- Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school,
- Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations,
- Feelings of helplessness or decreased self-esteem,
- Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide.
If you know someone in serious distress or danger, do not ignore the problem. Get help right away. If you are feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone that is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Signs a Child is Bullying Others: (www.stopbullying.gov)
- Kids may be bullying others if they:
- Get into physical or verbal fights,
- Have friends who bully others,
- Are increasingly aggressive,
- Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently,
- Have unexplained extra money or new belongings,
- Blame others for their problems,
- Don’t accept responsibility for their actions,
- Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity.
Kids Who are Bullied: (www.stopbullying.gov)
Kids who are bullied can experience negative physical, school, and mental health issues. Kids who are bullied are more likely to experience:
- Depression and anxiety, increased feelings of sadness and loneliness, changes in sleep and eating patterns, and loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. These issues may persist into adulthood.
- Health complaints.
- Decreased academic achievement – GPA and standardized test scores – and school participation. They are more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school.
A very, very small number of bullied children might retaliate through extremely violent measures. In 12 of 15 school shooting cases in the 1990s, the shooters had a history of being bullied.
Kids Who Bully Others: (www.stopbullying.gov)
Kids who bully others can also engage in violent and other risky behaviors into adulthood. Kids who bully are more likely to:
- Abuse alcohol and other drugs in adolescence and as adults,
- Get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school,
- Engage in early sexual activity,
- Have criminal convictions and traffic citations as adults,
- Be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children as adults.
Kids who witness bullying are more likely to:
- Have increased use of tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs,
- Have increased mental health problems, including depression and anxiety,
- Miss or skip school.