October is National Bullying Prevention Month, an important time for educators, students, and communities to come together to identify and prevent bullying in its many forms. Data shows that most students in the U.S. have experienced bullying in some shape or form.
- 28% of U.S. students in grades 6–12 have experienced bullying
- Approximately 30% of young people admit to bullying others
- 70.6% of young people say they have seen bullying in their schools
Additionally, the Counseling Service concerning Cyber Bullying Statistics 2014 found 50% of young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying; among them, 20% experience cyberbullying regularly. Bullying impacts all students, teachers, and school communities across the country, and can be negatively impactful to not only the victims, but also bystanders.
So, What Constitutes Bullying?
There is often some confusion over the difference between a conflict between students and a bullying incident. A general conflict between students involves a disagreement or difference in opinion, whereas the Center for Disease Control defines bullying as “any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths, who are not siblings or current dating partners”. So what differentiates the two?
Bullying is identified by the following three criteria:
- the possible infliction of harm or distress in physical, psychological, social, or educational form
- an observed or perceived power imbalance
- repeated aggressive behavior or high likelihood to be repeated over time
When identifying a bullying incident, it is important to know that it happens regardless of age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status of the participants.
How to Prevent Bullying
As an educator, you are at the forefront of combating bullying in the classroom and community. Through these and many other best practices, you can stem the tide of bullying in all its forms:
- Employ social-emotional learning and character education in the classroom
- Host a National Bullying Prevention month series of events that highlight how to identify and stop bullying behavior
- Foster open pathways of communication between students, their peers, and school faculty
For more information about how to prevent bullying in your school, check out our course Bullying and Beyond: Tools for Understanding and Engaging 21st Century Students as Dual Citizens.