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The NBPL will be supporting National Bullying Prevention Day on Wednesday, October 21st in a program (1-2:30-Conference Room) that will share a few meaningful Ted Talks clips to help us become aware of the impacts of bullying.

Here’s one from poet Shane Koyczan...

Below are a few thoughts from PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to help define what is being mean and what might be classified as more systemic or even circumstantial bully behavior.  Included as well is the State Statute on bullying for Wisconsin.

Defining Bullying Behavior

What is bullying? It's important to know that bullying behaviors can be much more complex and varied than historical stereotypes.

For example, while some bullying is physical and easy to recognize, bullying can also occur quietly and covertly, through gossip or on a smart phone or the internet, causing emotional damage.

As a starting point, there are elements that are included in most definitions of bullying. Although definitions vary from source to source, most agree that an act is defined as bullying when:

-The behavior hurts, humiliates, or harms another person physically or emotionally.

-Those targeted by the behavior have difficulty stopping the action directed at them, and struggle to defend themselves.

-There is also a real or perceived “imbalance of power,” which is described as when the student with the bullying behavior has more “power,” either physically, socially, or emotionally, such as a higher social status, or is physically larger or emotionally intimidating.

-Repetitive behavior; however, bullying can occur in a single incident if that incident is either very severe or arises from a pattern of behavior.

Many definitions also include:

The types of Bullying: The behavior can be overt and direct, with physical behaviors, such as fighting, hitting or name calling, or it can be covert, with emotional-social interactions, such as gossiping or leaving someone out on purpose. Bullying can also happen in-person, online or through smart phones and texts.

Intent of the part of the student with bullying behavior: “It is intentional, meaning the act is done willfully, knowingly, and with deliberation to hurt or harm,” but there is some controversy with this statement as some assert that not all bullying behavior is done with intent or that the individual bullying realizes that their behavior is hurting another individual.

Distinction about amount and duration: Many definitions indicate that the bullying is “repeated,” but the reality is that bullying can be circumstantial or chronic. It might be the result of a single situation, such as being the new student at school, or it might be behavior that has been directed at the individual for a long period of time.

The implications for all students: It is also important to note that bullying is not just about the implications for those targeted by the behaviors, but that the behavior can impact all students in the school, including those who witness the behavior and those that engage in the behavior.

Additional factors: these can include; the differentiation between bullying and harassment, enumeration of protected classes, statements around the use of technology, how the behavior impacts educational performance and the physical locations that would fall under the jurisdiction of school sanctions.

Students often describe bullying as when “someone makes you feel less about who you are as a person.”

Legal Definition of Bullying in the State of Wisconsin

State Statute 118.46-Policy on bullying.

(1) By March 1, 2010, the department shall do all of the following:

(a) Develop a model school policy on bullying by pupils. The policy shall include all of the following:

1. A definition of bullying.

2. A prohibition on bullying.

3. A procedure for reporting bullying that allows reports to be made confidentially.

4. A prohibition against a pupil retaliating against another pupil for reporting an incident of bullying.

5. A procedure for investigating reports of bullying. The procedure shall identify the school district employee in each school who is responsible for conducting the investigation and require that the parent or guardian of each pupil involved in a bullying incident be notified.

6. A requirement that school district officials and employees report incidents of bullying and identify the persons to whom the reports must be made.

7. A list of disciplinary alternatives for pupils that engage in bullying or who retaliate against a pupil who reports an incident of bullying.

8. An identification of the school-related events at which the policy applies.

9. An identification of the property owned, leased, or used by the school district on which the policy applies.

10. An identification of the vehicles used for pupil transportation on which the policy applies.

(b) Develop a model education and awareness program on bullying.

(c) Post the model policy under par. (a) and the model program under par. (b) on its Internet site.

 (2) By August 15, 2010, each school board shall adopt a policy prohibiting bullying by pupils. The school board may adopt the model policy under sub. (1) (a). The school board shall provide a copy of the policy to any person who requests it. Annually, the school board shall distribute the policy to all pupils enrolled in the school district and to their parents or guardians.

History: 2009 a. 309. “

Bully behavior isn't always relegated to our young and young adults. Many workplaces have individuals that also engage in the behaviors defined below above. For more  information, please visit:

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About the Author

Natalie is the Deputy Director with the New Berlin Public Library... Read More »

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