Although the Term is Overused, Bullying is Very Real

New York, N.Y. Bullying is real.  Yes, the term is overused. Yes, sometimes it’s “just” conflict and not bullying at all.

Bullying is real.  No, it is not new. No, it is not just “kids being kids.”

Bullying is real.  Yes, it hurts, not just in the moment, but long term.  Yes, it happens to adults too.

Bullying is real.  No, it doesn’t just happen in certain schools or neighborhoods or countries.  No, it’s not just physical.

Bullying is real. Bullying is also learned, and we need to say that on its own, and we need to say it over and over again. Bullying is learned by children who witness it in their daily lives in their homes, communities, and video screens.  It is learned when they see someone who is supposedly admirable – parent, coach, teacher, presidential candidate – bullying someone else.

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Defining Bullying

Bullying is real. At Operation Respect, our curriculum “Don’t Laugh at Me” deals directly with bullying behavior. Learn more about how we define bullying (and cyberbullying) and how to begin creating a safer, more respectful, bully-free environment.

How do you know if it’s bullying? PAIN—that’s how you know. Here is what we mean by that:

P – Bullying takes place when there is an imbalance of POWER.  The person engaged in bullying has a real or perceived power over the person being bullied.  This could be age, size, role, popularity, social group, or any number of characteristics and qualities which imbue power.

A – Bullying is AGGRESSIVE.  Sometimes it’s physical, sometimes it’s emotional, sometimes it’s relational.

I – Bullying is INTENTIONAL.  Here’s a sure sign: if the person who is being bullied walks away and is pursued, that’s intentional!

N – Bullying occurs NUMEROUS times.  It’s not an isolated incident of cruelty (again, that is a different issue and one we will talk about later this month), but happens repeatedly.

Bullying is real.  Bullying is learned. Bullying is PAIN.  Bullying can be stopped.

Download our free Don’t Laugh at Me curriculum and find out how Operation Respect can help you implement it in your school or district.

Molly McCloskey is the President and CEO of Operation Respect.

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Molly McCloskey
The current CEO and President of Operation Respect, Molly McCloskey is an innovative leader with proven ability to collaborate, engage, and inspire through shared accountability and a compelling vision. She has worked in every level of education from early childhood through graduate school in school based, university, association, and nonprofit management roles and serves on several advisory boards, but in her heart, she is still an elementary school counselor committed to equity and a whole child education for each child.

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