Bullying

Bullying impacts children and adults of all ages, backgrounds, and incomes accross the United States. Research suggests that there are no significant racial differences in rates of bullying and is therefore a universal problem. Bullying includes a wide range of behaviors and they all hurt. Bullying is an aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of social or physical power. It is a repeated behavior and can be physical, teasing, name calling, social exclusion, cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is bullying that happens online, via text messages or online on social websites that allow people to post repeated abusive or threatening comments.

Bullying is a complex social problem that may impact every aspect of the victim's life. There is no way to profile a bully. If the conditions and environment are supportive of bullying, then almost anyone can be a bully. In one study, it was found that kids who were bullied at home by siblings and/or relatives were more likely to bully someone else at school. If left untreated, children who learn that bullying is an effective way to get what they want are likely to continue bullying behavior into adulthood. It has been shown that children who bully are more likely than their peers to hold beliefs supportive of violence and encourage other youth to bully over time. Some studies suggests bullying may be tied to other high risk behaviors. 

Anyone can be victim of bullying. Children with disabilities or who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered plus have reported higher rates of bullying behaviors. However, there are no single causes of bullying. It is reported that boys tend to use physical violence to bully others and girls use relationships to bully others. Boys tend to report being bullied by boys and girls report being bullied by both boys and girls.

Bullying has been found to be related to negative psychosocial functioning among children who are victims including:

Bullying does not cause a suicide. However, we do know that there is a connection between being bullied and depression. We know that depression is a risk factor for attempting suicide. Therefore, adults should look for signs that children are depressed and seek appropriate actions. Gatekeeper trainings for adults are easy ways to identify signs of suicide in a conversation with a child.

For Teachers and School Administrators

Bullying can take place in a multitude of places. Bullying typically occurs in areas such as the bathroom, playground, crowded hallways and school buses. Students also can use their cell phones or computers to bully other students. Teachers and coaches need to remind students that bullying is not accepted in school.

Teachers and administrators should advise students that telling someone about bullying is not tattling. If a teacher sees bullying occurring, he or she should intervene immediately and stop the bullying situation. They  also should document the issue and tell the appropriate school administrators.

In 2011, the North Dakota Legislature passed house bill 1465 in which every school district to implement a bullying policy. 

Signs of being bullied

Children may not always be vocal about being bullied. Listed below are some signs to look for in your child if you suspect he or she is being bullied:

Myths and Facts of bullying

What to do if you are being bullied (and how to help someone else who is being bullied)

Information adopted from the American Psychological Association, North Dakota Department of Public Instruction and www.bullying.org