Bullying is repeated acts over time for one victim or multiple victims one at a time that involves a real or perceived imbalance of power with the more powerful child or group attacking those who are less powerful. This can be physical, verbal, psychological, or written and can include the use of electronic devices or social media. It is important to recognize examples that do not constitute bullying as listed below.
Bullying is not…
Being Excluded. We cannot be friends with everyone. Exclusion can be unpleasant but it is not an act of bullying.
Accidentally bumping into someone. This can happen at several times during the school day while in the hallways or playing outside. Students should apologize and make the best of these situations in a positive way.
Making other kids play a certain way. Some students are inclined to “bossy” behavior. Students need to be taught that they can be go play elsewhere if they don’t want to play the way another student is insisting on playing.
A single act of telling a joke about someone. This is different if the joke is repeated over and over and meant to deliberately hurt someone’s feelings. A one-time joke is not bullying and students should be taught to voice their displeasure over the joke when one is told that could be considered hurtful or teasing.
Arguments. Arguments are disagreements and people can walk away from them. They do not become bullying unless one person involved decides they are going to win and begin to abuse knowledge or trust, or tease about weaknesses in attempts to use that information against the other person. When both refuse to walk away this is two students bullying each other.
Expression of unpleasant thoughts or feelings regarding others. Students have opinions about others that are sometimes expressed. This could become bullying if the student is expressing this repeatedly in an attempt to make the other person feel bad.
Isolated acts of harassment, aggressive behavior, intimidation or meanness. To be bullying these must be repeated acts.