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Bullying Defined

Bullying Defined

Finding a Common Language

The following definition is provided by StopBullying.gov, an excellent anti-bullying website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in partnership with the Department of Education and Department of Justice:

"Young people typically have a good idea of what bullying is because they see it every day. Bullying happens when someone hurts or scares another person on purpose and the person being bullied has a hard time defending himself or herself. Usually, bullying happens over and over. Some common examples are:

  • Punching, shoving, and other acts that physically harm
  • Spreading rumors
  • Keeping certain people out of a 'group'
  • Teasing people in a mean way
  • Getting certain people to 'gang up' on others.

"Bullying also can happen online or electronically. Cyberbullying is when children or teens bully each other using the Internet, mobile phones or other technology. This can include:

  • Sending mean texts, emails, or instant messages
  • Posting nasty pictures or messages about others in blogs or on websites
  • Using someone else's user name to spread rumors or lies about someone."

**Please consult your local school system policies or state department of education for definitions affecting your locality. Remember, these could influence the policies and procedures you plan to develop for your school or organization.

Additional Definitions, Types of Bullying:

  • Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.org)
    "Bullying is a form of abuse. It comprises repeated acts over time that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful individual or group abusing those who are less powerful. The power imbalance may be social power and/or physical power..." More information
  • Princeton University WordNet (http://wordnet.princeton.edu)
    "The act of intimidating a weaker person to make them do something blustery: noisily domineering; tending to browbeat others." More information
  • National School Safety Center (www.schoolsafety.us)
    "Bullying is a form of violence that hurts others. School bullying happens at school or during school-sponsored activities when a student or group of students intentionally and repeatedly uses their power to hurt other individuals or groups. Bullies’ power can come from their physical strength, age, financial status, popularity, social status, technology skills, or by association (the people they know, who they hang out with, who their family is)." More information and fact sheets
  • Bully OnLine (www.bullyonline.org)
    This website gives information on "types of bullying, bullying tactics, how targets are selected, the difference between bullying and harassment and an answer to the question 'Why me?'" More information
  • Oklahoma Parents Center (www.oklahomaparentscenter.org)
    "Bullying includes behaviors and actions that are verbal, physical and/or anti-social, such as exclusion, gossip and non-verbal body language. It can occur at school or in transit between school and home."
  • Queensland (Australia) Government (www.business.qld.gov.au)
    "Workplace bullying is the 'repeated less favorable treatment of a person by another or others, which may be considered unreasonable and inappropriate workplace practice'. Workplace bullying is behavior that can intimidate, offend, degrade or humiliate an employee."
  • CoachesColleague.com (www.coachescolleague.com)
    "Deliberate action or behaviour directed towards another person which may take many forms and can often occur over a long period of time." More information
  • Virginia Legislature
    Proposed language from Delegate Adam P. Ebbin (D-Alexandria) in the Virginia Legislature, January 2011: “Recklessly or intentionally endangering the health or safety of a student by exposing the student repeatedly, and over time, to physical aggression or intimidation, whether through direct physical contact or through the use of information or communication technology, resulting in bodily injury or other harm to person or property.”