What is bullying?
Bullying is the act of continual abuse where one party tries to enforce it’s power over another. There are three types of bullying-physical, verbal, and relational (or social).
Physical bullying occurs when the bully uses physical power or violence to coerce, intimidate, or harm the victim. This is usually the easiest form of bullying to identify and see the effects of, which is why it is often thought to be the most serious and the most commonly responded to in schools.
Verbal bullying is when a person consistently uses words to intimidate or hurt another person. This can involved put-downs or verbal coercion. Verbal coercion is also fairly easy to spot, although many are not quick to respond to it, often mislead by the false “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” saying.
Relational bullying has possibly the most serious long-term effects of the three types of bullying. This type of bullying occurs when one person or a group of people purposefully exclude another, or engage in gossip or spreading rumors. This is often hard for teachers and administrators to see because it can go on either online or behind the scenes. Too often, relational bullying incidences are not intervened in because of this.
Why does it need to be stopped?
All too often, bullying has been treated as a part of growing up, or something that will toughen up young people as they grow through life. However, bullying is neither of these—it has no place in our schools. Research has shown that students who are bullied can develop many emotional problems, including depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and difficulty in social situations and relationships. Certainly, serious emotional problems are not a part of growing up.
Recently, there have also been multiple suicides blamed on bullying, from the Phoebe Prince case in Massachusetts to a string of cases in states such as Texas, Minnesota, and even right here in Ohio. These must be stopped, and the only way to do so is by installing preventative programs in schools throughout the country. Even one suicide due to bullying is too many.