Safe From Bullies


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

Every day in our nation's schools, children are threatened, teased, taunted, and tormented by schoolyard bullies. Bullying often leads to greater and prolonged violence. Not only does it harm its intended victims, but it also negatively affects the climate of schools and the opportunities for all students to learn and achieve in school.

Bullying and the harm that it causes are seriously underestimated by many children and adults. Educators, parents, and children concerned with violence prevention must also be concerned with the phenomenon of bullying and its link to other violent behaviors.

Types of Bullying

Bullying among children is commonly defined as intentional, repeated hurtful acts, words, or other behavior, such as name-calling, threatening, and/or shunning committed by one or more children against another. These negative acts are not intentionally provoked by the victims, and for such acts to be defined as bullying, an imbalance in real or perceived power must exist between the bully and the victim. Bullying may be physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual in nature.

For example:

  • Physical bullying includes punching, poking, strangling, hair pulling, beating, biting, and excessive tickling.
  • Verbal bullying includes such acts as hurtful name-calling, teasing, and gossip.
  • Emotional bullying includes rejecting, terrorizing, extorting, defaming, humiliating, blackmailing, rating/ranking of personal characteristics such as race, disability, ethnicity, or perceived sexual orientation, manipulating friendships, isolating, ostracizing, and peer pressure.
  • Sexual bullying includes many of the actions listed above as well as exhibitionism, voyeurism, sexual propositioning, sexual harassment, and abuse involving actual physical contact and sexual assault.

Bullying among schoolchildren is quite common in the United States. In a study of junior high and high school students from small midwestern towns, 88 percent of students reported having observed bullying, and 76.8 percent indicated that they had been a victim of bullying at school. Of the nearly 77 percent who had been victimized, 14 percent indicated that they experienced severe reactions to the abuse!

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.
“Kids were fighting me and calling me names all the time. The school wouldn't do anything when my mom told them what was going on. I didn't want to go to school, and my grades were bad. Now I like going to school and my grades are good.”

ECOT Student
Dunkirk, Ohio
“I got tired of other children making fun of my child because he was held back and he is very tall to begin with, and also calling him names like prissy or preppy because he takes care of himself and his clothes.”

ECOT Parent
Piketon, Ohio