We can all put a stop to bullying. People can be mean, but there is no excuse for it. What is bullying? The Pacer National Bullying Prevention Center gives this definition: “Bullying is when someone is being hurt either by words or actions on purpose, usually more than once, feels bad because of it, and has a hard time stopping what is happening to them.” Bullying can be physical: hitting, pushing and shoving, fighting, tripping, yelling at someone, making rude gestures, taking or breaking another person’s things. It can also be emotional: name calling, making fun of someone, laughing at someone, leaving someone out on purpose, starting rumors or telling lies about someone, sending mean messages online, trying to make someone feel bad about who they are.
Bullying happens anywhere. It can happen in your neighborhood, on the way to school, in school, at work, online. Cyber-bullying is an increasing problem. This can include sending mean text messages, posting statements online that are unkind or not true, sending or posting pictures that are not yours to share or are just plain rude, making negative comments online about someone, or agreeing with someone who posts something hurtful. Bullying needs to be reported. Nothing can be done if school officials or law enforcement do not know it is happening.
Sometimes people think that bullying and conflict are the same thing, but they aren’t. In one way or another, conflict is a part of everyday experience, in which we navigate the complexities of how we interact. Typically, minor conflicts don’t make someone feel unsafe or threatened. Bullying, on the other hand, is a behavior with intention to hurt, harm or humiliate and the person targeted is not able to make it stop. With bullying, there is an imbalance of power.
Bullying is NEVER okay. No one deserves to be bullied.
For more information on bullying prevention, go to https://www.pacer.org/bullying/
MCC Licensed School Counselor
TEAM Bullying Prevention Student Task Force Advisor