What is bullying?

In Polk County Schools, student behavior must meet three criteria to be considered bullying:

  1. The behavior must be repeated. If a behavior occurs only once, it may constitute harassment, but it is not bullying.
  2. The behavior must be unwanted, offensive, threatening, insulting, humiliating, or causes the target to feel so stressed, injured or threatened that it interferes with his/her educational performance.
  3. There must be an imbalance of power between the victim and the aggressor.

“Bullying” is systematically or chronically inflicting physical hurt or psychological distress on one or more students or employees. Bullying may involve but is not limited to:

  1. unwanted teasing
  2. threatening/intimidating behavior
  3. stalking or cyberstalking
  4. cyberbullying
  5. physical violence
  6. theft or destruction of school or personal property
  7. sexual, religious, or racial harassment
  8. public humiliation
  9. social exclusion, including incitement and or coercion
  10. rumor or spreading of falsehoods

Here are some differences between bullying and other forms of conflict:

Rough Play: Fighting: Bullying:
Usually friends; often will do the same things again Usually not friends; Typically not repeated Not friends but will be repeated
Power not an immediate Issue Power close to equal Power is not equal
Not about hurting Trying to hurt each other Bully is trying to hurt, humiliate
Affect is friendly, mutual Affect is negative, angry Affect varies between the victim and bully

Click here for more information on bullying.