Bullying & Harassment

A person is being bullied when he/she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons. Negative action is when a person intentionally inflicts injury or discomfort upon another person, through physical contact, through words or in other ways. Note that bullying is both overt and covert behaviors.

The following are examples of bullying behaviors.

Remember, bullying is a pattern of behavior that is repeated over time against the same person(s) with a noted power differential.

  • Saying hurtful and unpleasant things
  • Making fun of others
  • Using mean and hurtful nicknames
  • Completely overlooking someone
  • Deliberately excluding someone from a group of friends
  • Hitting, kicking, pulling hair, pushing or shutting a person inside
  • Telling lies
  • Spreading false rumors
  • Sending mean notes
  • Trying to get other students to dislike another person

NOTE: The literature suggests not labeling a student as a bully or victim. Instead, call it bullying and/or victim behavior that the student is exhibiting.

Direct bullying behaviors (overt) involve behaviors that are observable and that are usually expressed by physical and verbal means. Usually direct bullying involves relatively open attacks on a victim and are “in front of your face” behaviors.

However, bullying behavior is not always hitting, kicking, teasing, or name calling. Children who bully others may use subversive acts that hurt just as much, but are harder to detect. Examples of indirect bullying are leaving others out on purpose, spreading rumors to destroy another’s reputation or getting others to dislike another person. This is covert bullying or “behind your face” behaviors.

Bullying begins at an early age with students demonstrating behaviors like biting, pinching or scratching. Teasing and taunting may follow with glaring and staring. Shoving, pushing, and tripping may ensue along with pestering and fighting. Boys may name call, steal lunch money and threaten younger boys while girls may ignore and exclude others or undermine friendships.

Thus, bullying can start small and get out of hand unless there is consistency with what is expected. Everyone should have the same expectations and be on the same page. If someone is being bullied at home, at play and/or at school, the behavior should be reported to a trusted adult. The information should be factual and, if possible, logged in a journal describing the type of bullying, where and when it is happening, who is involved, and how the victim reacts to the bullying. It is important to determine if the victim is provocative. How the information is conveyed is very important.

That was so funny. Laughing at a Wichita Celebration.

Our Publications: Understanding Bullying

National Resources

Pacer Center’s: Kid Bullying Against Bullying


Bullying and Bullying Prevention: Information for Educators

Bullying at School and Online

Bullying Information for Parents and Teachers

Bullying: A Major Barrier to Student Learning

Bullying Prevention is Crime Prevention Report

Bullying and Teasing of Youth With Disabilities: Creating Positive School Environments for Effective Inclusion

Bullies: Turning Around Negative Behavior

Bullying: What It Is & What Schools Can Do About It

Bystanders: Turning Onlookers into Bully-Prevention Agents

Common Views About Bullying

Embedding Bullying Interventions into a Comprehensive System of Student and Learning Supports

A Guide to Bullying and Cyberbullying

Guidance Targeting Harassment Outlines Local and Federal Responsibility

How to Handle Bullying of Children with Special Needs 

Individualized Education Program and Bullying

Keeping Students with Disabilities Safe from Bullying

New Decision in School Brutality Cases

Notifying School Administrators of Harassment Concerns

Pathways Courses – The ABCs of Bullying

Preventing Classroom Bullying: What Teachers Can Do

Prohibited Disability Harassment

Protecting Students from Harassment and Hate Crime: A Guide for Schools

Reminder: Harassment Based On Disability Is Wrong, Illegal

Record Keeping and Bullying

Sexual Harassment – Talking Tips for Parents – Grades 4-6

Sexual Harassment – Talking Tips for Parents – Grades 7-12

Talk to your Children about Bullying

Understanding Bullying and Its Impact on Kids with Learning Disabilities or AD/HD

Victims: Preventing Students from Becoming ‘Bully-Targets’

Walk a Mile in Their Shoes: Bullying and the Child with Special Needs

What Can Parents Do?

What Parents can do if Your Child is being Bullied

On-line Training

The contents of this Families Together, Inc.'s website were developed under grants from the US Department of Education (#H328M150027) and the Department of Health and Human Services (H84MC09487). However, the contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the US Departments of Education or Health and Human Services, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government Project Officers, Kristen Rhoads or LaQuanta Smalley.