Bullying In The Classroom


Bullying is defined as repeated aggressive, negative, unwanted behaviors which involve a disparity in strength or power. It can take the form of verbal or physical aggression, humiliation and embarrassment, destroying a person’s property or social relationships, graffiti and now for the technically savvy generation, cyber bullying through e-mail, text messages, voice mail and social networking.  Perpetrators choose their victims according to perceived a weakness or difference in areas such as size, weight, skin color, sexual preference, or physical/learning ability.

Most students state that they do not report school bullying due to fears of retaliation and observations that rarely is anything done to alleviate the situation. School bullying statistics show that much of the bullying takes place when students travel to and from school and in the halls ways, bathrooms and playgrounds where often it is difficult to provide adequate adult supervision. The only witnesses to the incidents are fellow students. These fellow students may: join in the bullying; receive vicarious pleasure through observation; or are fearful of becoming victims themselves and therefore do nothing to stop the abuse.

Bullying statistics show that boys bully more often in a physical way while girls use their strength in language by belittling their victims with words. The mass use of social media networks and cell phones has made cyber bullying a particularly easy way to intimidate, alienate and humiliate victims. One click of a button and a whole group of individuals can be party to the school bully’s actions.

Though bullying often decreases in high school age students, there is a high correlation between a history of school bullying and later criminal actions. School bullying while at one time thought to be an outcome of the bully having low self esteem, is actually quite the opposite, with most bullies actually having an overly grand image of themselves. It is the victims of the school bullying whose self esteem often plummets and bullying statistics show that many bullying victims become depressed and sometimes suicidal.

We, as educators, have a responsibility to our students to do whatever we can to provide a safe environment for learning. Both the bullied and the bullies need our help. Bullying statistics show that bullying is on the rise. Some simple steps we can take to assist our students are: making our students aware of the problem and teaching them assertiveness techniques to deal with bullies; provide students with a message box to the teacher to report concerns and other observations; develop projects to promote class/school unity; and, most importantly, make it clear to our students that we have a no tolerance policy for school bullying.

35 Responses to Bullying In The Classroom

  1. Fran says:

    Yes – educators have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for their students and the schools themselves must have a rock solid bullying policy in place.

  2. wendy says:

    I greatly support the attitude in this article.
    what an important topic.

  3. Richard Deyell says:

    Having been through bullying myself when I was a child, I have firsthand knowledge of the effects of bullying. I ended dropping out of High School because of this behavior, and lost out on my education (until I attended Law Enforcement in College as a mature student). I have also seen that bullies tend to turn out to be criminals later in life (one of the guy I went to elementary school with murdered another guy we went to school with once we reached our teens and were in High School). As a result of the bullying I went through as a child and even adulthood, I turned to Martial Arts as a way to keep myself safe, eventually earning a 5th Degree Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu, and founding Kudo Ryu Jiu-Jitsu…or the “Way of Vodness School” of Jiu-Jitsu. Due to my experiences with violence in my life, I now integrate weapons training into my Kudo Ryu Jiu-Jitsu (training intended for GUERRILLA WARFARE)…such as KNIFE FIGHING as taught to the military, commando and special forces units, and assasin groups. It is a serious situation when a civilian person’s childhood experiences lead them to take up the study of military knife fighting, consider or commit suicide, quit school before graduation!!! Bullying is definitely an issue that needs to be addressed…and done away with once and for all…not that it’s going to happen though!!! It is really damaging our society in so many ways!!!

  4. Annette says:

    Teacher can be bullies also & can help other student bully other students.Bully can being at home & get worst by family members

  5. Gloria says:

    Bullying still exists in our school system, and it’s a damn shame too. Not only are the parents of the kids who are doing the bullying responsible for making sure it doesn’t happen, the kids who are being bullied have to tell. We as parents, teachers and mentors have to make it clear that we expect nothing less than ‘0’ tolerance when it comes to bullying, especially within our school system. Kids need to be safe EVERYWHERE…If they can’t feel safe in school, where they spend the majority of their time, then shame on us all.

  6. We also need to teach the importance of bystanders becoming allies and standing with the bullied. Role-playing is a good teaching method. My song about resisting bullying and becoming an ally is at http://www.sisterschoice.com/I_THINK_OF_A_DRAGON2010.mp3
    with sheet music at http://www.sisterschoice.com/I_THINK_OF_A_DRAGON.pdf

  7. Mike Urry says:

    Thank you for raising awareness of this tragic situation!

    His Name Was Steven – Working to end school bullying and raise awareness about teen suicide, in memory of our son.

    We can make a difference!

    • Miriam says:

      I am so sorry for your loss and am touched by your comment. It is an extremely important issue and I felt the need to do my part. Good Luck in all your endeavors.

    • Deb says:

      I am so Sorry hon for your loss, something has to be done at these schools…

  8. Garciia says:

    of course bullying can be prevented. with the proper education in school and even your own house we can reduce this. all this world need to be better is EDUCATION. with a better education we can be successful

  9. Elke says:

    I am a teacher and I can tell you that educators are doing everything possible to make their students aware of how bullying can injure people and cause a lifetime of suffering… but lets not forget to support and protect the teacher either. Last year was a nightmare year for me with a grade 5 class that took their bullying to the personal level with me. As their teacher, I represented authority & rules & regulations, everything that they (and some of their parents) wrail against. They were brutal, launching two hate pages on Facebook, calling me names in the classroom, objecting to pretty much everything I said to them on the subject… while allowing themselves to be dictated to by the biggest boy in the class.
    The problem was thatI had no support from my administration in identifying where & why the root of the problem rested on his shoulders or in getting the hate pages removed. I had an autistic child in my class & every day, twice a day, they would bully him until he cried because this one boy took delight in this. They stole from my desk & my purse constantly as there was no locking drawer anywhere in my classroom. They sat in my chair & scooted it around the room like a race car. This one boy sat at the back of the class & constantly muttered during my lessons “why don’t you shut the $%@ up?”
    It was brutal. I finally had to take two weeks off or I would literally have lost my mind. In that time frame, I went to the superintendent with the local president of my union to get my issues listened to by anyone. Why should I have had to go to such an extreme to be heard? Teachers are dealing with bullying on a daily basis without let up. It is not being ignored by them. However, a teacher can only do what their administration & school law allow us to do… which very much ties our hands. I was never so glad to wave goodbye one last time as i was last year. Check out how school law limits a teacher & imagine yourself in a classroom by yourself with 28 students who have decided they hate you. How long would you last in a situation such as I have described? Truly, we teachers are doing what we can.

    • Miriam says:

      You have my deepest sympathy regarding your experience. It is essential that school administrators and principals back up their teachers. It sounds like the situation needed strong intervention in the earliest days. Teachers need training in dealing with bullying and preventative measures need to be taken before situations occur.

    • Miriam says:

      You have my deepest sympathies regarding your experience. It is essential that school administrators and principals back up their teachers. Outside intervention should have been provided in the early stages. Teacher training on how to deal with bullying as well as bullying prevention tactics must be provided to teachers before they experience what you did.

  10. Shad says:

    I think that most of this starts at home. With the way things are now i doubt that bullying could actually be stopped. The issue should be addressed at home first and foremost. It should be the parents place to teach their kids good morals, which good morals go against bullying. The more teen pregnancies, hostile home environments, and divorces that happen the more this will escalate. All of these things have escalated along with the bullying problem. Coincidence, I don’t believe in it. There is always a correlation or a reason things happen.

    • Miriam says:

      There is no doubt that the current student population is dealing with issues that previous generations never did. Parents can and should be teaching their children proper morals. Yet, this does not absolve the schools and teachers from doing their part.


      • Karmi says:

        I agree that the ideal would be for parents, grandparents and the community to work together with the schools to create a no bullying zone.

  11. We as good people should help& protect&stop this senseless act of violence.children need proper attention care&protection.we should form a world helpers club,a caring group of people to help others&form a community club.we can start by asking the child @ home or write dowm anything that bothering them/upsetting&work it from there.then you&helpers will be communicating @ all times to protect&help this child.do the neighbour watch inside the school&outside the school,keep close eye on that child.give that child something to protect them selves with distress decoders devices or cell phones & martial arts&reasoning words&carry alert or blow horns to warn them off.write down all good solution to confront the bully,find ways to change the act of the bully.i want this senseless act to stop now. unless it gets way out of hand, then call the law enforcement otherwise they make the situation worse/only those who have counselling skills to handle this kind of behaviou&jail is not the answer to the problem they must counselled&other helpful programs,bullies need help, to be good& better people/they are starving for attention.ask them what is wrong with them&why are you doing this senseless act&it must stop now.ask them if they like being pushed&bullied around?try reasoning&if that dont work,its time to form the world helpers group,even a group of children can help to protect other children,they must be strong&have a good heart&able to handle the situation without getting hurt.give them those protection devices to warn the bully/bullies off,there is many ways to help&protect our children let us do it now&stop this senseless act of bullying.i hope some of this advise will help&not make things worse.what is the world coming to?take care&HAGD Dave C

    • Miriam says:

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You are correct in saying that we must end bullying now. It all starts with caring. Everyone needs to do their part.

  12. Jesse says:

    I completely agreee with doing whatever needs to be done to stop bullying. I myself went through a horrible year of bullying while in elementary school. The teachers were made aware of the bullying, as was the principal and assorted support staff. I (the victim) was sent to the school counseler where I was told they could not do anything about one of the students bullying me as he had Turettes. By the time April came around my father had to pull me out of the school and call the RCMPs. The school had done nothing to halt the bullying aside from making me see the counseler. New measures should be put in place so that the police never have to do what the teachers/administration should have.

  13. Don’t wait for bullying to happen. Be PROACTIVE. Superintendent of Schools Greg Darling, Humboldt, Iowa, reported fewer incidents of bullying after teachers in grades 2 – 8 read and discussed DON’T CALL ME MICHAEL. This chapter book is a story about bullying, friendship, and forgiveness. DON’T CALL ME MICHAEL is vehicle for classroom discussion to encourage students to talk about what is really happening in their school environment. A great way to begin your school year, this book will provide students with the opportunity to be part of the solution to bullying issues. Signed copies of my book and an activity packet with project ideas and questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy are available upon request from the author.
    Check out my web site at joyceholtoncrawford.weebly.com. Books can also be ordered from Tate Publishing or on Amazon. An e-book edition is also available.

  14. God please put the parents back at home to raise their children that they brught in this world and stop all of the bulling at all levels !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Put prayers back in the SCHOOLS AND HOMES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Miriam says:

      I think that you have a really good point about parents being there for their kids, but what about separation of church and state?

  15. Jeff says:

    I’ve taught kindergarten for 10 years now and while I don’t have to deal with bullying to the extent of teachers who teach older grades, every once in a while, I get one. From my experience, MANY (not all), but many of the bullies I’ve seen have parents (or a parent) that I would classify as a bully. So, the problem is that many times when these issues are addressed, the parents believe we are overreacting and don’t take it seriously.

    In Public Education, there are limited options for us. I’ve often said, “When are we going to realize that the ‘Needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or one’?” – That Spock was one smart Vulcan – Now, I’m not saying we should choose who can stay in classrooms and who can’t, but we have to give School Districts more options for punishments when it comes to outlandish behaviors or repeat offenders. In order to get a student suspended is a very, VERY difficult task…expelled is virtually impossible. I have had parents tell me, “He’s your problem when he’s in school.” I have seen principals turn a blind eye, not wanting to deal with it.

    In my district, I cap out at 26 students and because I teach All Day K, they make sure I am maxed out. When I have to deal with 3 or 4 kids on a constant basis when it comes to their behavior, how am I to give the other 22 to 23 students the attention they deserve? Now add this: half my class never attended kindergarten from time to time and the parents don’t read to them or work with them at home. I’ve had multiple years where a large amount of students didn’t know their colors. REALLY!?!? How do you NOT go for walks with your child and say things like, “Look at the green grass or the blue sky or the red sign”? I HAD ONE YEAR WITH 13 (of 26) STUDENTS STARTED THE YEAR WITH NO ENGLISH!

    I don’t know if everyone is aware of kindergarten expectations, but in these days, we expect our students to be writing 3-4 complete sentences (stretching out the word sounds, not spelling) and to be independent readers. If they are starting the year with no letter knowledge of letters and sounds, this makes it very unrealistic. Basically, we cannot be held responsible when a parent has “dropped the ball” in the first five years of their child’s life. When are we going to hold parents accountable for having children?

    Believe me, we do what we can. I feel a bit fortunate myself for a few reason: 1 – the level of bullying I deal with is limited in kindergarten. 2 – because they are still young, it is easier for me to make a big difference. 3 – because I am a guy, I think I have an easier time (I’m not being sexist here, you gals are amazing too, I just think there is something to be said for a male voice with young children).

    I know I digressed a bit here, but I am very passionate about my career and get so sick and tired of people blaming teachers for things out of our control.

    • Jeff says:

      I meant that there are years that half my class hasn’t attended PRESCHOOL, not kindergarten.

    • Miriam says:

      Thank you for sharing your experience. Parents should certainly be held accountable for their actions but at the same time teachers need to deal with the realities in the classroom. It sounds like you are a teacher that parents should be grateful to have teacher their children.

  16. Matt says:

    Bullying is a big problem. But schools should not be held responsible. Kids need to get hard and handle their own the world is an unforgiven place. STOP BEING SO SOFT….

    • Karmi says:

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. Kids may need to learn to coping skills but that doesn’t absolve parents, teachers and school administrators from doing their share.

      • Carol says:

        I totally agree with you.Its been like this since time itself. Stand tall or get your tail whipped all your life.Like you said you have to handle your own cause there isnt always going to be someone there to protect you.I learnt that when I was in school. Good point!!

  17. Carol says:

    Bullying has been going on since time itself. The worst of it is when i was in school we didnt carry weapons. There were alot of fist fights tho. No I agree it shouldnt have happened but it did.You had to learn to stand up to the bully or be stomped on.Sad but true.First of all the “strap” should never been banned. We lived through it.The teachers have no control over the students today. The law has made it that way!So what can the teachers do?Suspend the students? Like that really upsets them.Its crazy!Kids today have no respect and do things because what are you going to do about it? Tell the teacher? Then you will get it twice as hard after school

  18. sam cammisuli says:

    As you know, the increase media coverage has sparked awareness within communities.
    Intervention, within the communities, such as parents, students, educators ,and employers is needed to address, this complex issue of bulling, which has become an “EPIDEMIC”.
    If one has not experienced bullying, one will never understand the effects of “bullying”
    I’m an adult now and only recently, with the increase media coverage, some of my childhood nightmares have resurfaced.Steps need to be implemented to prevent these heart breaking stories, and to erase bullying, forever!!!!
    Attached, you will find a book of my past experience, that i hope along with a partnership ,that may help repair, schoolyard, relationships. With your help they will listen.

    Sam Cammisuli bulliesmuststop@hotmail.com

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