Safe From Bullies


(From Educational Resources Information Center, U.S. Department of Education)

Bullying and harassment often interfere with learning. Acts of bullying usually occur away from the eyes of teachers or other responsible adults. Consequently, if perpetrators go unpunished, a climate of fear envelops the victims.

Victims can suffer far more than actual physical harm:

  • Grades may suffer because attention is drawn away from learning.
  • Fear may lead to absenteeism, truancy, or dropping out.
  • Victims may lose or fail to develop self-esteem, experience feelings of isolation, and may become withdrawn and depressed.
  • As students and later as adults, victims may be hesitant to take social, intellectual, emotional, or vocational risks.
  • If the problem persists, victims occasionally feel compelled to take drastic measures, such as vengeance in the form of fighting back, weapon-carrying, or even suicide.
  • Victims are more likely than nonvictims to grow up being socially anxious and insecure, displaying more symptoms of depression than those who were not victimized as children.

Bystanders and peers of victims can be distracted from learning as well. They may:

  • Be afraid to associate with the victim for fear of lowering their own status or of retribution from the bully and becoming victims themselves;
  • Fear reporting bullying incidents because they do not want to be called a "snitch," a "tattler," or an "informer";
  • Experience feelings of guilt or helplessness for not standing up to the bully on behalf of their classmate;
  • Be drawn into bullying behavior by group pressure;
  • Feel unsafe, unable to take action, or a loss of control.

Bullies themselves are also at risk for long-term negative outcomes. In one study, elementary students who perpetrated acts of bullying attended school less frequently and were more likely to drop out of school than other students. Several studies suggest that bullying in early childhood may be an early sign of the development of violent tendencies, delinquency, and criminality.


Are you feeling desperate, alone or helpless? Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, 24-hour hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
“My daughter has ADHD and is very hyperactive. She was getting picked on, hit on, spit on, and made fun of constantly everyday. She was coming home crying because of these kids. It was sad because she loved her teacher and her friend in that school but wasn’t worth the problems she was dealing with there.”

ECOT Parent
Mansfield, Ohio
“I got pregnant and for some reason everyone started targeting me telling me they were going to kill me and shoot me.”

ECOT Student
Jamestown, Ohio