How to Identify School Bullies Preemptively

Bullying cannot be tolerated in any school. School administrators and teachers, with the help of parents and students, can help eliminate bullying with early identification and intervention.

There are three forms of Bullying : Physical bullying, verbal bullying, and excluding children from activities. Parents and school officials must also be aware of cyber-bullying in which these three types can also be present.

o Physical bullying: hitting, tripping, kicking, pushing, and other physically aggressive actions.
o Verbal bullying: Put-downs, threats, taunts, making fun of another student’s expense, starting hurtful rumors,
o Excluding other children from activities: “Don’t pick him!;”No one wants you.”

When we think of bullying, we often picture the bully stereotype who is a big, loud-mouthed kid taking advantage of smaller, younger students by using physical threats to dominate other kids. Although these kinds of students need to be watched, the more damaging threat can be the quiet, brief, difficult- to- hear and see behaviors that can so adversely affect a child. Too often, the victim suffers in silence and emotional damage can be far-reaching.

Cyber-bullying is an area that teachers and parents should watch for as well. Cyber-bullying is likely to happen while students are on the computer at home, so school personnel cannot be expected to monitor that. However, students may come to school and talk about their cyber-bullying experiences and teachers must be ready to inform parents and the school guidance counselors about such incidents.

Teachers and parents need to listen to the child complaining of a bullying type of encounter. So often, we want the children to “work it out” when teacher or parent intervention is what is needed.

Name calling and taking another student’s belongings are both bullying behaviors that adults should take seriously. Adults should be particularly aware of behaviors that a child reports took place in the locker room, on the bus, in the restroom, or other places where an adult may not be in close proximity.

A student who is bullied is mistreated. If that student’s complaint to an adult is ignored, it is a double mistreatment. Watch for aggressive behaviors whether they are physical, verbal, or excluding behaviors. Follow up.

If a child comes to you with a complaint in any of the areas described here, listen to the child and follow-up as soon as possible. Do not overlook name-calling, teasing, threats, or any of the behaviors in which a child becomes a victim of bullying.