Bully Prevention

A person is bullied when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other persons, and he or she has difficulty defending himself or herself.”   (Olweus et al., 2007) 

Three Key Components of Bullying Behavior

  • Involves an aggressive behavior
  • Typically involves a pattern of behavior repeated over time
  • Imbalance of power or strength

Gender Differences

  • Most studies find that boys bully more than do girls
  • Boys report being bullied by boys; girls report 
    being bullied by boys and girls
  • Boys are more likely than girls to be physically 
    bullied by their peers
  • Girls are more likely to be bullied through rumor-spreading, 
    sexual comments, and social exclusion

(Nansel, 2001; Olweus, 1993) 


Bullying Affects Everyone

  • Those who are bullied
  • Those who bully
  • Bystanders

Know the Difference Between….

Rough Play

Real Fighting


Usually friends; often repeated (same players)

Usually not friends; typically not repeated

Typically not friends; generally repeated

Balance of power

Power relatively equal

Unequal power

No intent to harm

Intentional harm-doing

Intentional harm-doing

Affect is friendly; positive, mutual

Affect negative;  aggressive, tense, hostile affect

Affect negative; aggressive & differs for victim and aggressor

Possible Warning Signs That a Child is a Bully

  • Have more positive attitudes toward violence than peers
  • Have quick tempers, are easily frustrated
  • Have difficulty conforming to rules
  • Are stronger than peers
  • Appear tough, show little compassion for victims
  • Are aggressive to adults
  • Are good at talking themselves out of situations
  • Have good or average self-esteem
  • Are not be anxious and uncertain
  • Vary in popularity; popularity decreases in higher grades
  • Like to dominate others in a negative way
  • Gain satisfaction from inflicting injury and suffering
  • Receive “rewards” by bullying others (prestige, possessions)
    (Olweus et al., 1999)

What to do if you suspect your child is bullying others

  • Communicate directly with the child:
    • “We know you have been involved in bullying.”
    • “Bullying is serious behavior.”
    •  “We will not tolerate any future bullying behavior.”
  • Enforce family rules
  • Reinforce positive and kind behavior
  • Spend more time with your child
  • Monitor the child’s activities
  • Build upon the child’s talents\help the child find more appropriate behaviorspatterns
  • Seek professional assistance, if necessary.

Possible Warning Signs that a child is being bullied

  • Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing, books, or other belongings
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
  • Has few, if any friends, with whom (s)he or spends time
  • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers (such as clubs)
  • Sudden loss of appetite or appears anxious
  • Takes a long, “illogical” route when walking to or from school
  • Has lost interest in school work
  • Begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Suffers from low self-esteem

    (Olweus et al., 1999)

What if you suspect your child is being bullied?

If your child shows any of these signs, this does not necessarily mean that he or she is being bullied, but it is a possibility worth exploring. What should you do? Talk with your child and talk with staff at school to learn more.
Talk with your child. Tell your child that you are concerned and that you’d like to help. Here are some questions that can get the discussion going:
Some direct questions:
  • I’m worried about you.  Are there any kids at school who may be picking on you or bullying you?”
  • “Are there any kids at school who tease you in a mean way?”
  • “Are there any kids at school who leave you out or exclude you on purpose?”
  • “Do you have any special friends at school this year? Who are they? Who do you hang out with?”
  • “Who do you sit with at lunch and on the bus?”
  • “Are there any kids at school who you really don’t like? Why don’t you like them? Do they ever pick on you or leave you out of things?”   
Ask the teacher to talk with other adults who interact with your child at school (such as the music teacher, physical education teacher, or bus driver) to see whether they have observed your child being bullied by others.


If you are not comfortable talking with your child’s teacher, or if you are not satisfied with the conversation, make an appointment to meet with your child’s school counselor or principal to discuss your concerns.

Effects of Bullying

Effects on the Bystander (those that are present during bullying)

  • Feel afraid
  • Feel powerless to change things
  • Feel guilty
  • Feel diminish empathy for victims

(Olweus et al., 1999)


Effects on School Climate

  • Students perceive a lack of control/caring
  • Creates a climate of fear and disrespect
  • Interferes with student learning

(Olweus et al., 1999)

What is being done in Nordonia Hills City Schools?

  • Grades 9-12, lessons are provided through Health and Family Consumer Science classes
  • Guest speakers and  community agencies/resources provide additional information and support to students, parents, and staff
  • School Counselors hold individual sessions with targets, bullies, and bystanders
  • Principals, teachers, counselors, and other school staff work with families to provide interventions and support to those who may be affected by bullying in any way
  • Continued staff training with the latest research and best research-based interventions
  • Bully Prevention Task Force has been set up at the High School to review  all reports, interventions, and follow-ups of each of Bullying , Harassment, and Intimidation From submitted
  • District wide identification/reporting/protocol of dealing with harassment, intimidation, and bullying
  • Restorative Practices

Why is it important to address bullying in schools?

  • For students and their futures
  • For a healthy school climate
  • For the larger community
  • For the purposes of risk management for schools
  • It’s a wise investment


Parent Resources

If you obtain information from your child or from staff at your child’s school that leads you to believe that he or she is being bullied or is bullying others, take quick action.  Bullying can have serious effects on children.




Nansel, T., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R., Ruan, W.J., Simons-Morton, B., Scheidt, P.Bullying Behaviors Among US Youth:Prevalence and Association With Psychosocial Adjustment..JAMA. 2001;285(16):2094-2100. doi:10.1001/jama.285.16.2094.

Olweus, D. (1993). Bullying at school: What we know and what we can do. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell Publishers, Inc.

Olweus, D., Limber, S., & Mihalic, S. (1999).  The Bullying Prevention Program. Blueprints for Violence Prevention. Boulder, CO: Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

Olweus, D. & Limber, S. P. (2007).  Olweus Bullying Prevention Program Teacher Guide. Center City, MN: Hazelden.

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