Definition of Bullying in Schools
Bullying behavior, broadly described as intimidating or harrassing another person through physical or verbal assaults and insults, can begin at any age, but it seems to be a particular problem among children and adolescents. Although bullying is usually a one-on-one behavior, it also has a broader social impact. Victim may feel humiliated, and thus alienated from everyone in their peer group, while bullies may feel that they have established a position of superiority in the same group. Bullying behavior can continue into adulthood, although by that time it may be regarded as criminal behavior and result in legal action (e.g. charges of "assault and battery").
The social stratification caused by bullying is often a precursor of adult behavior. Children who are bullies may continue to intimidate, or to try to intimidate, their peers when they are adults. Other adults learn to cope with such behavior, either by standing up to it and challenging the bully or by ignoring the behavior and avoiding the bully. Adult society often tends to place bullies and victims in different social groups.
The development of techniques for dealing with bullies is part of the larger task of schools to create a safe environment for all children and to teach acceptable social behavior.
Main Terms and Definitions Related to Bullying
Asperger Syndrome: A neurological disorder associated with autism that is characterized by normal intelligence and language development, but marked by deficiencies in social and communication skills. Such individuals can easily become victims of bullying.
Assault: In criminal law, assault may refer to a verbal threat of violence, whereas battery refers to the actual violence. Most jurisdictions in the United States define assault as an attempt to cause, or actually causing, bodily injury. Some states expand this definition to include an attempt to menace someone by putting a person in fear of imminent injury. Assault is also defined as unwanted physical contact or unwanted sexual advances.
Bullying: In general, bullying is behavior by one person that intimidates another. Often, bullying involves a real or implied threat of physical aggression and is directed by a physically larger or older person toward someone smaller or younger. Other definitions of bullying include both physical actions (hitting, pushing, punching), as well as verbal actions (threatening, taunting, teasing), or even excluding the target from group activities.