What is Bullying?

Bullying may be defined as the abuse of power by an individual or group with the intent to cause distress to another individual or group. It is deliberately hurtful behaviour which may be physical, sexual, verbal or psychological in nature. It may be repeated over a period of time on those who feel powerless to resist, with the intention of causing distress.

Bullying should always be taken seriously. All bullying is unacceptable.

Bullying does not only occur between children. The above definition can also be seen to characterize some relationships between adults or between adults and children. In more serious instances where adults abuse their power over a child or a child abuses their power over another child, bullying may be viewed as child abuse and should be treated as such.

Bullying is hurtful. It typically has seven elements:

  1. An initial desire to hurt
  2. The desire is expressed in action
  3. Someone is hurt either physically or emotionally
  4. There is an imbalance of power
  5. It is without justification
  6. It is typically repeated
  7. There is evident enjoyment by those who bully

Bullying can stem from thoughtlessness, such as in name calling, or stem from institutionalised attitudes, for example in relation to gender or race. That does not make it any less unacceptable.

Bullying can typically take three forms

  1. Physical bullying – hitting, kicking, taking belongings
  2. Verbal bullying – name calling, insulting, making offensive remarks
  3. Indirect bullying – spreading nasty stories, exclusion from social groups.

Name calling is the most common direct form. This may be because of individual characteristics, however, students can be called names because of their ethnic origin, nationality or colour, sexual orientation or some form of disability.

The use of mobile phones to text insulting, obscene or threatening messages is both verbal and indirect bullying. The use of phones/ the internet, including camera phones, to harass or transmit derogatory text messages and/or photographs must also be viewed as bullying and defined as cyber bullying.

Bullying is always significant to the person being bullied.

All of these things affect people in different ways and each person will react differently when bullied. We believe that if a student feels intimidated or is made to feel unsafe by the words/actions of another student then he or she is being bullied.

No case brought to our attention will be viewed as unimportant. We want everyone in our school community to view bullying as anti-social behaviour, which is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.