Stop BullyingBullying is a form of harassment when it is based on:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • Disability
  • Gender identity
  • Sexual orientation

Bullies are aggressive and often bully others for a long time. Typical bullying behavior includes:

  • Making threats
  • Spreading rumors
  • Hitting, punching, pushing, or kicking
  • Name calling
  • Purposely excluding another child from a group or activity

Bullying can happen in person, on the phone, or on the computer. Bullying online is especially dangerous because it reaches a larger audience. (It includes posting hurtful or humiliating comments on social media.)

Kids who are bullied may experience:

  • Mental health problems—low self-esteem, stress, depression, or anxiety
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Poorer grades in school
  • Fear of going to school, the playground, or other places where they may encounter the bully
  • Long-term health problems

What type of person is the bully? Many bullies:

  • Like to control others
  • Care only about themselves
  • Show poor social skills
  • Don’t know how to play or work with others

In some cases, bullies have been the targets of bullying. They may be bullied at home by parents or siblings so they lash out at others. They may bully to feel better, feel a sense or power, or simply to fit in with other bullies.

What should a child do if he or she is being bullied? Here are some important steps:

  • Walk away
  • Remain calm; getting upset or angry is exactly what a bully wants
  • Do not fight back
  • Tell someone—friends, parents, teachers, or school counselors

Adults may not see or always recognize that bullying is happening. Encouraging kids who are bullied to talk about the problem lets them know they are not alone. By working together to stop bullying, we can bring it into the open and hopefully see it end.

Children with disabilities are two to three times more likely to be bullied than other children. State and federal laws are in place to protect students with disabilities from bullying. In fact, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that children with disabilities are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Stopping and preventing bullying helps ensure that students with disabilities feel safe going to school and are able to meet their Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals.

To learn more:

Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center
This site offers resources for kids and parents, including form letters that students and parents can use to inform schools of bullying.

StopBullying.gov
This federal government site includes a list of anti-bullying laws by state.

Walk the Talk Iowa
A project of the ASK (Access for Special Kids) Resource Center, this site contains valuable information about protecting children from bullying in Iowa.

Written by: Jennifer Luria, LMSW