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Bullying (teachers)

Bullying for Teachers

I believe a school should create an environment where children understand from the moment they start school that bullying, aggression and violence are not acceptable.
The bullying child needs support, supervision, and mentoring, while being helped to understand that violence is not acceptable.
If the bullying child refuses to respond positively, then ultimately the removal of the child from the class/school is in order to protect the rights of the majority of children who do choose to conform to the required social norms.
Aggression rules.
The children who are non-violent, not physically strong, or physically small, are always vulnerable; their needs are often overlooked.
It's the non-violent children who will go on to make the biggest contribution to society.
Bullying and harassment should not be ignored or tolerated.
If a student approaches you and tells you that he or she is being bullied, take the complaint seriously.

What is bullying?
Bullying is persistent unwelcome behaviour, mostly using unwarranted or invalid criticism, nit-picking, fault-finding, also exclusion, isolation, being singled out and treated differently, being shouted at, humiliated, excessive monitoring, having verbal and written warnings imposed, and much more

Bullying can include:
Name calling
Damage to your belongings
Physical violence
Spreading malicious rumours

Why do people bully?
The purpose of bullying is to hide inadequacy.
Bullies project their inadequacy on to others:

a) to avoid facing up to their inadequacy and doing something about it;
b) to avoid accepting responsibility for their behaviour and the effect it has on others, and, 
c) to reduce their fear of being seen for what they are, namely a weak, inadequate and often incompetent individuals, and,
d) to divert attention away from their inadequacy - in an insecure or badly-managed workplace, this is how inadequate, incompetent and aggressive employees keep their jobs.

Bullying is an inefficient way of working, resulting in disenchantment, demoralisation, demotivation, disaffection, and alienation.

is a form of abuse, and bullies often go to great lengths to keep their targets quiet, using threats of disciplinary action, dismissal, and gagging clauses. What bullies fear most is exposure of their inadequacy and being called publicly to account for their behavior and its consequences. This makes sense when you remember that the purpose of bullying is to hide inadequacy, and people who bully to hide their inadequacy are often incompetent.

A bully is a person who

  • has never learnt to accept responsibility for their behaviour
  • wants to enjoy the benefits of living in the adult world, but who is unable and unwilling to accept the responsibilities that are a prerequisite for being part of the adult world.
  • abdicates and denies responsibility for their behaviour and its consequences (abdication and denial are common features of bullying)
  • is unable and unwilling to recognise the effect of their behaviour on others
  • does not want to know of any other way of behaving
  • is unwilling to recognise that there could be better ways of behaving.

Bullying is obsessive and compulsive; the serial bully has to have someone to bully and appears to be unable to survive without a current target.

Bullies are seething with resentment, bitterness, hatred and anger, and often have wide-ranging prejudices as a vehicle for dumping their anger onto others. Bullies are driven by jealousy and envy. Rejection  is another powerful motivator of bullying.

How do bullies select their targets?

The bully selects their target using the following criteria:

  • bullies are predatory and opportunistic - you just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; this is always the main reason - investigation will reveal a string of predecessors, and you will have a string of successors
  • being good at your job, often excelling
  • being popular with people more than anything else, the bully fears exposure of his/her inadequacy and incompetence; your presence, popularity and competence unknowingly and unwittingly fuel that fear
  • being the expert and the person to whom others come for advice, either personal or professional (ie you get more attention than the bully)
  • having a well-defined set of values which you are unwilling to compromise
  • having a strong sense of integrity (bullies despise integrity, for they have none, and seem compelled to destroy anyone who has integrity)
  • having at least one vulnerability that can be exploited
  • being too old or too expensive (usually both)
  • refusing to join an established clique
  • showing independence of thought or deed
  • refusing to become a corporate clone and drone

Jealousy and envy are strong motivators of bullying.

Personal qualities that bullies find irresistible

Targets of bullying usually have these qualities:

  • popularity (this stimulates jealousy in the less-than-popular bully)
  • competence (this stimulates envy in the less-than-competent bully)
  • intelligence and intellect
  • honesty and integrity (which bullies despise)
  • you're trustworthy, trusting, conscientious, loyal and dependable
  • a well-developed integrity which you're unwilling to compromise
  • you're always willing to go that extra mile and expect others to do the same
  • successful, tenacious, determined, courageous, having fortitude
  • a sense of humour, including displays of quick-wittedness
  • imaginative, creative, innovative
  • idealistic, optimistic, always working for improvement and betterment of self, family, the employer, and the world
  • ability to master new skills
  • ability to think long term and to see the bigger picture
  • sensitivity (this is a constellation of values to be cherished including empathy, concern for others, respect, tolerance etc)
  • slow to anger
  • helpful, always willing to share knowledge and experience
  • giving and selfless
  • difficulty saying no
  • diligent, industrious
  • tolerant
  • strong sense of honour
  • irrepressible, wanting to tackle and correct injustice wherever you see it
  • an inability to value oneself whilst attributing greater importance and validity to other people's opinions of oneself (eg through tests, exams, appraisals, manager's feedback, etc)
  • low propensity to violence (ie you prefer to resolve conflict through dialogue rather than through violence or legal action)
  • a strong forgiving streak (which the bully exploits and manipulates to dissuade you from taking grievance and legal action)
  • a desire to always think well of others
  • being incorruptible, having high moral standards which you are unwilling to compromise
  • being unwilling to lower standards
  • a strong well-defined set of values which you are unwilling to compromise or abandon
  • high expectations of those in authority and a dislike of incompetent people in positions of power who abuse power
  • a tendency to self-deprecation, indecisiveness, deference and approval seeking
  • low assertiveness
  • a need to feel valued
  • quick to apologise when accused, even if not guilty (this is a useful technique for defusing an aggressive customer or potential road rage incident)
  • perfectionism
  • higher-than-average levels of dependency, naivety and guilt
  • a strong sense of fair play and a desire to always be reasonable
  • high coping skills under stress, especially when the injury to health becomes apparent
  • a tendency to internalise anger rather than express it

Myths and misperceptions about school bullying
There's no bullying here
Ignore it
Stand up for yourself
Victims of bullying typically do not retaliate
Bullying toughens you up
Bullying is a rite of passage we all have to go through
Bullying is part of life, you've just got to accept it
There's no law against bullying so it must be OK
People who get bullied are wimps
Only weak people are bullied
Bullies prey on the weak
Bullies are psychologically strong
Victims are unlikeable
Victims lack social skills
Victims blame themselves for their problems
Victims are afraid to go to school
Everyone is capable of bullying
Children who are bullied grow up to be tougher people
Bullies are tough people
Violence on TV makes children violent
Playing violent video games makes children violent
We operate a no blame approach here
We follow the academic model of classifying victims of bullying as passive victims, provocative victims, colluding victims, and false victims
Children who are bullied are passive
Children who are bullied are shy loners
You're too sensitive
You shouldn't sue for bullying because it prolongs victimhood
Bullies and victims are connected to each other, they are two sides of the same coin. We can think of bullying as a friendship that can't find a way to work.
Bullies are popular children
Bullies have high self-esteem
You'll never get rid of bullying so let's concentrate on teaching victims how to assert themselves

If you want to combat bullying in your school or formulate a whole school anti-bullying policy, click here to see what you can do.

Stop Bullying Before It Starts

If a child is exhibiting bullying behaviour, the questions to ask are "why does this child have a lot of internal aggression?" and "why does this child need to displace their internal aggression onto other children?", and "why has this child not learned how to interact with other children in a non-violent manner?".

Violence prevention Strategies

Office for SAFE Schools
What Schools Can Do

The Best No Bullying Websites
All the no bullying information you wwill ever need is gathered right here.

Case Studies
Case studies provide further reading to accompany the Department's anti-bullying pack, Don't Suffer in Silence and links to some websites about bullying in schools

Home education for your child
Home schooling and home tuition due to bullying at school etc

Case law and out-of-court settlements
for child bullying and school bullying

Links to sites & organizations tackling child & school bullying

Bullying Videos

Grades K-5
(check links for older children)
This page is from the teaching guide for the video
"Groark Learns about Bullying"
in the video series Getting Along with Groark  featuring the Popcorn Park Puppets (TM).
Even if you aren't showing this video there is a lot of useful material that you can use to create a lesson. Feel free to modify it to suit your needs.
An Anti-Bullying Video
Watch the Beat Bullying Video
To view these, you'll need to have Microsoft's Windows Media Player on your computer.

Books, Publications, and Reports

Child bullying and school bullying
Books, publications, reports

Books for Children, Young Adults and Adults

"The Gift of Fear "
"Protecting the Gift "
written by Gavin De Becker
Both books are excellent for advice on keeping our children, and ourselves, safe, and there is information on bullying in Protecting the Gift.
De Becker also has a Web site that you may visit

Administration Resources

School Counselor Resources features thousands of books, videocassettes, DVDs, CD-ROMs, posters and more. Free resources include catalogs, annotated Web sites, sample lessons from activity books, and original online activities.

Anti Bullying Alliance
Anti-bullying resourcesfor schools ...

Web Resources for Parents & Teachers

Bullying Among Young Adolescents: The Strong, the Weak and the Troubled: The largest investigation to date on bullying and victimization among urban ethnic minority youth finds that there are significant differences between bullies, victims and students who are both, suggesting that different kinds of intervention are in order. Victims suffer emotional distress, but are unlikely to draw attention to their difficulties. Students who are both bullies and victims are by far the most troubled, socially ostracized by their peers, the least engaged in school and the most likely to display conduct problems. Bullies tend to enjoy high social status among their peers, even though classmates tend to avoid their company: abstract:

Bullying, It's Not Okay: Brochure for parents contains sections on "When your Child is the Victim," "When your Child is the Bully," and "When your Child is a Bystander." It was jointly produced by the Washington State Medical Association, the Washington State Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Washington State Attorney General's Office. It is now available free online:

Stop Bullying Now: web site with some interactive sections for elementary-aged children as well as great, downloadable handouts for adults, from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration:

Bullying: Peer Abuse in Schools

Source: Preventing Bullying - A Manual for Schools and Communities
US Department of Education 11/3/1998

Choosing a Bullying Prevention Program

'Every school should have one: How peer support schemes make schools better'
Peer support schemes can transform schools, reducing bullying, increasing pupil confidence and involvement, and lowering teachers' stress levels.

Information Sheets & Leaflets

What we know about bullying prevention and intervention

Children's Safety Network
General Child Injury/ Violence Prevention

School Safety
This is an Adobe Acrobat document created by CSN staff. It outlines the problem of school injuries, reviews how they can be prevented, and describes the MCH role in preventing these injuries. Created 10/01.

Literature Themes
These sites are about bullies and includes tips on how to deal with them. There are lists of recommended children's books that have a bullying theme, a printable pledge against bullying, and an animated movie.

Bully B'ware Productions
producer of videos, posters and books for students and teachers on taking action against bullying.

STOP the Violence Coalition
The goal of our innovative peer abuse prevention program is to help create kinder, safer schools where students don't fear teasing, bullying and violence and where students can be more receptive to learning.

NEA: School Safety
It is NEA's goal, in launching a National Bullying Awareness Campaign, to reduce, and eventually eradicate, bullying in America's public schools.
Bullying can no longer be explained away, as some adults are inclined to do, as a normal part of growing up. Bullying has only harmful, not beneficial, effects for the target and the perpetrator - even the bystander. Many children in our nation's schools are robbed of their opportunity to learn because they are bullied and victimized daily. Bullying exacts a terrible toll on children, and the scars can last a lifetime.

K-12 Prevention Across the Curriculum
This site contains lesson plans, research, laws, policies and resources on bullying. ...

The Steps to Respect Program
You know that bullying is a problem, and you want to make a difference. Steps to Respect: A Bullying Prevention Program gives you everything you need to create a safe and respectful school climate.

Schwab Learning
Understanding Bullying and its Impact on Kids with Learning Disabilities or ADHD

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