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Bullying Defined

The CHOICES Prevention Programs utilizes the Bullying Definition created by Dan Olweus, Ph.D., a world-leading expert in the area of bullying.

Remember: Not all bad behavior is bullying.

ALL FOUR of the following elements MUST be met to be called bullying.

  1. Specific Type of Aggression
    • Verbal bullying is saying or writing mean things. Verbal bullying includes:
      • Teasing
      • Name-calling
      • Inappropriate sexual comments
      • Taunting
      • Threatening to cause harm
    • Physical bullying involves hurting a person's body or possessions. Physical bullying includes:
      • Hitting / kicking / pinching
      • Spitting
      • Tripping / pushing
      • Taking or breaking someone's things
      • Making mean or rude hand gestures
    • Psychological bullying (Social, Relational) involves hurting someone's reputation or relationships. Psychological bullying includes:
      • Leaving someone out on purpose
      • Telling other children not to be friends with someone
      • Spreading rumors about someone
      • Embarrassing someone in public
  2. Behavior is intended to harm or disturb - i.e., it is intentional
  3. Carried out repeatedly and over time - Bullying behaviors happen more than once
  4. Imbalance of Power
    Students who bully use their power
    • Physically - strength, size, large group - to control or harm others
    • Psychologically - have access to embarrassing information or use popularity to control or harm others

© The Olweus Bullying Prevention Group, 2004