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Students with Bullying Behaviors

Working With Students who are displaying bullying Behaviors

Bullying is "Aggressive behavior that is intentional, repeated over time, and involves an imbalance of power or strength. A child being bullied has a hard time defending himself or herself." -Department of health and Human Resources.
Bullying behaviors are repeated incidents. They are never single incidents. It is a form of physical abuse. 37 states have developed laws related to bullying. These are all types of bullying behaviors.
  • Physical bullying (hitting or punching)
  • Verbal bullying 
  • Nonverbal or Emotional Bullying (intimidating someone through gestures or social exclusion)
  • Cyberbullying

As teachers, one of our goals is to create a safer school environment. Bullying creates a toxic environment where learning will not thrive. After a bullying incident has taken place, adults must follow up. Ultimately, you would want students to be empowered enough to defend themselves and confident enough to prevent becoming a target of bullying behavior. When students aren't ready to do this, adults need to intervene. However, it is important that the adult does this in a manner that does not further degrade the situation. 

1) Avoid having the incident reported in public. Do not create a target for bullies.  Never report that a particular child told you something to the student who displayed bullying behavior. Emphasize confidentially.

2) Gather information.
Ask what happened.
Get the facts: who? what? where? when? Is this the first time? Did anyone else witness the situation? 
Finding other children or adults who witnessed the event can help students from being the sole reporter of an incident.
Encourage students to report further incidents to other trusted adults.
Increase observation of student behavior.

3) Encourage bystanders to be responsible citizens. See the video below. STOP, TALK, and WALK>

4) Speak with each student individually. 
Mediation is not advisable. Bullying behavior is a power struggle and students involved are not on equal ground. A child who has been bullied needs to feel safe and feel some control. Forcing an apology does not help. Instead, turn to restorative approaches.  Have students make reparations and learn to empathize.
When discussing the incident with the student who is displaying bullying behavior, be sure to mention that the behavior was reported from a number of sources (possibly including adults).   Students bullying may need help recognizing their behavior. They may need to learn how to make a means.

6) Contact parents from both students to inform, give support, get support, and gain background.  If necessary refer students to counselors after contacting parents. 
If parents appreciate further support, refer them to the school based, on-site counselor (social worker).

5) Follow up. Encourage the student who was bullied to make friends with others. Staying with friends builds a natural defense against bullying behaviors. Be sure to check back with both children over time.

- This information was adapted from " 
Bullying Prevention Month Resources