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What Educators Need to Know About Bullying

From Indiana Youth Institute and the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative

Children's social lives — and their academic lives go hand in hand, whether or not they have friends, whether they are accepted or rejected by their peers, or whether they are victims or perpetrators of aggression. This means that we cannot fully understand the factors that lead to academic achievement without knowing about the social environment of children in school.

The American Physiological Association shares that bullying can have long-term effects on students' academic achievement.

Commonly labeled as peer victimization or peer harassment, school bullying is defined as physical, verbal, or psychological abuse of victims by perpetrators who intend to cause them harm.

The critical features that distinguish bullying from simple conflict between peers are: intentions to cause harm, repeated incidences of harm and an imbalance of power between perpetrator and victim. Some examples of an imbalance of power are physically stronger youth picking on weaker peers, older students harassing younger students, or numerical majority group members deriding numerical minority members. Hitting, kicking, shoving, name-calling, spreading of rumors, exclusion and intimidating gestures (e.g., eye rolling) by powerful peers are all examples of harassment that is physical, verbal, or psychological in nature.

Some definitions of bullying state that the harassment must be repeated over time. However, even a single traumatic incident of peer victimization can be painful and raise fears about continued abuse.

The Indiana School Mental Health Initiative provides several informative videos for educators, access them here >


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