When other students are treating our student in a mean way, the common response we might here is that our student is being bullied. It is a very common word both in schools but also in the media.
Bullying by definition has a few components that separate it from being just mean behavior.
Bullying is REPEATED, INTENTIONAL, AGGRESSIVE, AND FOCUSES ON AN INBALANCE OF POWER.
The following scenarios are examples of bullying:
- *Sam always says Dwayne isn't cool enough to sit at his lunch table. (The word always says that it is a repeated behavior, and the situation says that Sam is more powerful than Dwayne because he can dictate Dwayne's behavior.)
- *Billy takes Tisha's earmuffs everyday at recess.(Billy is repeating this behavior every day and takes advantage of the fact that Tisha doesn't seem powerful enough to stop him.)
- *Mitch put an embarrassing picture of Tanner on the internet. (Although it only happened once, this is considered cyber bullying because Tanner had no power to prevent that picture from getting online, and once the picture is online, it can't ever be truly taken off.)
The following scenarios are examples of children being mean, but not bullying:
- Carrie called Debra four eyes.
- Stella said to Ricky,"you make me sick."
- Becca is pretty bossy during kickball games.
- Penny didn't let Doug use her iPod.
- Becky wanted to copy Sally's paper. Sally said no and Becky was not happy.
Just because a student isn't bullying another child but just being mean, does not mean that the behavior isn't hurtful, serious, and wrong. We definitely will handle mean behavior as well as bullying, however it is better for everyone when we are using common language to describe behavior. If your student is experiencing any problems at school that make them feel unhappy or unsafe, we want to know so that we can join with you to change that. Email or call me anytime and I will get back with you as soon as I can.