Skip to site content

Stop Bullying in Your Schools and Communities

depressed girl

Bullying is a common experience for many children and adolescents. Surveys indicate that as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years. Bullying behavior can be physical or verbal. Bullying is often a warning sign that children and teens are heading for trouble and are at risk for serious violence.

Bullying includes a wide variety of behaviors, but all involve a person or a group repeatedly trying to harm someone who is weaker or more vulnerable. It can involve direct attacks (such as hitting, threatening or intimidating, maliciously teasing and taunting, name-calling, making sexual remarks, and stealing or damaging belongings) or more subtle, indirect attacks (such as spreading rumors, encouraging others to reject or exclude someone or cyberbullying).

Bullying can lead children/teenagers to feel tense, anxious, and afraid. It can affect their concentration in school, and can lead them to avoid school in some cases. If bullying continues for some time, it can begin to affect self-esteem and feelings of self-worth. It also can increase their social isolation, leading them to become withdrawn and depressed, anxious and insecure. In extreme cases, bullying can be devastating for teens, with long-term consequences. Some feel compelled to take drastic measures, such as carrying weapons for protection or seeking violent revenge. Others, in desperation, even consider suicide.

boy sitting at the lockers

Children/Teens who witness bullying can feel guilty or helpless for not standing up to a bully on behalf of a classmate or friend, or for not reporting the incident to someone who could help. They may experience even greater guilt if they are drawn into bullying by pressure from their peers. Some deal with these feelings of guilt by blaming the victim and deciding that he or she deserved the abuse. Children/Teens sometimes also feel compelled to end a friendship or avoid being seen with the bullied child/teen to avoid losing status or being targeted themselves.

The U.S. Department of Education (ED) recently hosted the first ever Federal Summit on Bullying in Washington DC, parts of the summit, like Secretary Duncan's keynote, can be viewed on CSPAN. The ED has launched a new website, Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving , which allows for an easy, centralized, and accessible location of information and federal resources. Other sites that contain information and resources on bullying are: Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving