Hurtful Teasing

Unequal powerSensitive topicPurpose is to upsetExcludesSarcastic

Friendly Teasing

Equal powerNeutralPurpose is to be playfulJoins relationshipsFunny to both parties

Peer Conflicts

Equal PowerOccurs occasionallyAccidentalNegotiations and optionWithdrawing an optionRelationship is valuedEffort to resolve

Actual Bullying

Imbalance of powerUsually occurs repeatedlyIntentional and seriousSeeks to gain powerVictim is vulnerableNo remorseNo effort to resolve

What is Bullying?

The Marinette School District strives to develop a school environment where all students feel secure and safe. Because of the various ways in which to identify and interpret student behavior, there is often confusion about the terminology used to describe and report such behaviors. After much research and discussion, the Marinette school District has established the following guide that is meant to assist in understanding the different types of behaviors and the ultimate differentiation between bullying and other peer conflicts and teasing.

There are four main types of negative social behavior: friendly teasing, hurtful teasing, peer conflicts, and actual bullying. Below are a few examples of these behaviors:

  • Friendly Teasing: One student comments to another student that he should turn his/her jersey inside out because his favorite team lost last night.
  • Hurtful Teasing: One Girl comments to another girl that she looks chubby in the outfit she is wearing.
  • Peer Conflicts: Two students have a disagreement on the playground about which one will be the pitcher in kickball.
  • Actual Bullying: One student repeatedly threatens another student that if he walks down a specific hallaway he will get "beat up". Another example is one student repeatedly calling another student a name regarding his sexual orientation.

Four questions to determine when a behavior constitutes bullying:

  1. Were the alleged bullying behaviors deliberate?
  2. Were they repeated?
  3. Did the alleged bullying behaviors inflict harm or suffering?
  4. Is there an imbalance of real or perceived power between the alleged victim and alleged author of the behavior?