Schools: What Bullying Is And Is Not

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It’s important to be able to determine whether a situation is bullying or not.

Bullying in schools is a real issue in our society and our classrooms. It has been observed that in recent years the number of bullying cases has been increasing and that in certain cases parents mistake trivial incidents for bullying, ergo perceiving a situation as far more serious than it really is. At the same time, the exact opposite may also occur as in some cases many teachers and parents don’t give enough importance to particular cases of classroom conflict.

So, where do we draw the line between bullying and the occasional fight among classmates?

To answer this question, we should take into consideration that an isolated incident of physical, verbal or relational aggression cannot be identified as bullying but more as one single isolated conflict between two people. It should be understood that we identify as abuse a repetitive pattern of action where the victim finds himself in a situation of inferiority with respect to the aggressor.

As a result, a bullying case should be characterized by a series of requisites that would differentiate it from other types of behavior:

  • It should be an incident that repeats itself as a continuous pattern, not something isolated.
  • It should affect all aspects of the victim’s life.
  • There should exist a lack of balance between the power/authority of the
    aggressor and the victim.
  • There should be bystanders present.
  • More often than not, bullying entails an ample variety of violent behaviors (physical, verbal, psychological and social)

Elisa Martín

Educational Department

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