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Bullying Behaviors and Intervention Strategies. January 8, 2007 Marshall Middle School Presenters:Christine Hamele – Jay Pica. References for Presentation.

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Bullying Behaviors and Intervention Strategies

January 8, 2007

Marshall Middle School

Presenters:Christine Hamele – Jay Pica

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References for Presentation

  • Bill Bond, Resident Practitioner for Safe and Orderly Schools, National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP). Words Hurt the Heart: Strategies to Reduce and Prevent Bullying. AWSA Conference, La Crosse, WI (October, 2006).

  • Bullying Behaviors in Schools. One credit class taught at Marian College-Fond Du Lac.

  • Sawyer, D. (2006). Primetime: Cyber Bullying-Cruel Intentions, ABC Television.

  • Wiseman, R. (2002). Queen Bees and Wannabees. New York: Crown Publishers.

  • www.safeyouth.org

  • www.StopBullyingNow.hrsa.gov

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Definition of Bullying

  • Bullying is aggressive behavior intended to cause harm or distress.

  • Bullying is not a conflict between two students. It is one side humiliating the other for entertainment.

  • Conflict is a normal part of adolescence.

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Normal Conflict/Aggression

  • Episodic and Overt.

  • Similar age +/or developmental age.

  • Similar physical strength.

  • Similar level of affect.

  • Different motivation than bullying.

  • Leads to remorse/responsibility and efforts to solve the problem. Peer mediation can work here.

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Similar power

One time

Similar affect

Friends or least an acquaintance

Imbalance of power


Unequal affect- bully shows no emotion

Not friends

Conflict vs. Bullying

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Criteria: Is It Bullying?

  • Is there an imbalance of power / strength?

  • Is the behavior repeated over time?

  • Does the behavior cause harm or distress to the victim?

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Direct involves:

Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, etc.

Taunting, teasing, racial slurs, verbal harassment.

Threatening, obscene gestures.

Indirect involves:

Spreading rumors.

Excluding from a group or activity.

Getting others to do the bullying

Cyber bullying.

Direct vs. Indirect Bullying

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ABC Primetime

“Cyber Bullying-Cruel Intentions”

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National Statistics

  • 160,000 students stay home from school each day because they have been bullied. This means 1 to 2 in our school. (Nansel, T.R., 2003)

  • 10% of students reported being bullied, but not bullying others. Another 6% said they were bullied and bullied others. A final 13% just bullied. (Journal of the American Medical Association, April 2001)

  • 60% of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one conviction by age 24.

    40% had three or more convictions. (Olweus, 1997)

  • 40% of victims turn into vicious bullies themselves. (Limber, 2003).

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Impulsive, hot-headed, dominant.

Easily Frustrated.

Lack of Empathy.

Thought that victim provoked/deserved it

Difficulty following rules.

View violence in a positive way.

Stronger than others.

Characteristics of a Direct Bully

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Family risk factors for bullying

  • Lack of warmth/involvement from parent.

  • Overly-submissive parents.

  • Lack of adult supervision.

  • Harsh, physical discipline.

  • Parents model bullying behaviors.

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Characteristics of female roles

  • The Queen Bee

    Became popular based on fear and control.

    Reigns with charisma, force, money, looks, will and manipulation.

  • The Sidekick

    Backs up the Queen Bee no matter what.

    Looks/acts like Queen’s twin.

    Bullies others with Queen to promote their agenda.

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Characteristics of female roles

  • The Banker

    Creates chaos by banking/sharing information about others. Sneaks under the radar, girls trust her.

  • The Floater

    Doesn’t associate with only one clique.

    Confident, nice to others, avoids conflict.

    High self-esteem, may stand up to Queen.

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Female roles (cont.)

  • The Torn Bystander

    Conflicted between doing right thing and allegiance to the clique. Easily influenced.

  • The Pleaser

    Almost all girls fill this role. May do Queen’s “dirty work” (gossip). May be dropped from the clique easily. Serves as a messenger.

  • The Target

    Set up by others-victim. May or may not be in the clique. Lives outside the norms.

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Peer Factors

  • Students who bully have friends who bully. Males mostly, have positive attitudes towards violence.

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Get into fights / get injured

Vandalize property


Drink alcohol



Drop out of school

Carry a weapon

Youth who frequently bully are more likely to:

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“Children who bully are loners”.

Research indicates they aren’t isolated.

Have an easy time making friends.

Have a small group who encourages bullying.

“Children who bully have low self-esteem”

Research indicates those who bully have average

or above average self-esteem. Bored easily, get a

thrill from bullying.

Interventions that focus on building self-esteem are

not often effective.

Bullying Myths(taken from StopBullyingNow)

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Moment To Reflect

  • Are you working with a student who exhibits these characteristics?

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Fragile self-esteem

Poor social skills


Emotionally vulnerable

Physically weak

Learning or behavioral disability

Show vulnerable behaviors ( walk, posture, eye contact)

Lack conflict reducing skills

Characteristics of victims-passive

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Provoking others

Ineffectual aggressor

Easily emotionally aroused

Tend to maintain conflict, then lose

May be ADHD +/or ODD

Make you feel that they deserve it

(These victims are searching for attention and will set themselves up to be the victim and receive negative attention

Characteristics of victims-provocative

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Warning Signs that a child is being bullied (staff/parents)

  • Torn, damaged, or missing clothing, books, or other belongings.

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches.

  • Few, if any, friends with whom he or she spends time.

  • Doesn’t participate in organized school activities.

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Warning signs that a child is being bullied (continued):

  • Has lost interest in school work / suddenly begins to do poorly.

  • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed.

  • Complains frequently about headaches, stomachaches, or other physical ailments.

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Warning Signs that a child is being bullied (continued):

  • Appears sleepy, complains of lack of sleep.

  • Experiences loss of appetite.

  • Appears anxious.

  • Low self-esteem.

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Moment To Reflect

  • Are you working with a student who exhibits these warning signs?

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If you observe bullying:

  • Intervene. Stop it immediately. Say something to the bully. (Most Important!)

  • Talk to the victim in private. Listen and get the facts. Does it fit the criteria?

  • Tell them you are sorry. Assure them it isn’t their fault

  • Be aware of bystanders. Talk to them privately.

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If you observe bullying:

  • Remember that bullying is not a conflict. Don’t hold a mediation.

  • Write a discipline referral. Describe the actions as harassing or humiliating. Don’t call them a bully. They will live up to that label. Parents defend kids who are labeled. If parent defends them, a consequence is meaningless.

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If bullying is reported to you:

  • Listen attentively. Write down the facts.

  • Reassure them it isn’t their fault.

  • Ask student what they want to happen.

  • Incident Report Form? Needs further investigation.

  • Discipline Referral? Meets the criteria.

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Ways To Reduce/Prevent Bullying

  • Focus class time on this issue (advisory) to get the pulse of student’s concerns. Offer strategies for victims and bystanders.

  • Strong personal relationships with students. All students need at least one caring adult. Need someone to tell.

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Ways To Prevent Bullying

  • Buddy system for new students (often seen as targets).

  • Provide a safe, secure, confidential way for student to communicate concerns to adults.

  • Teach students the difference between tattling (telling to get someone in trouble) and informing (telling to help someone). Want them to report bullying.

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Ways To Reduce/Prevent Bullying

  • Increase supervision in hot spots:





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Ways To Prevent/Reduce Bullying

  • The research findings presented in most literature emphasizes the need for a comprehensive, school-wide bullying program. It has the greatest results.

  • Programs provide a unified effort, common language, common expectations, support/training for all staff, along with year long emphasis.

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Strategies for Victims When Approached by a Peer

  • Don’t get upset, show it doesn’t bother you. Walk away.

  • Don’t defend yourself against rumors.

  • Use humor or a quick comeback.

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Strategies for Bystanders

  • Provide confidential reporting method.

  • Communicate expectation they will take action. Not OK to do nothing.

  • Girls: build empathy skills. Verbally process her actions as a bystander.

  • Boys: Sax says empathy building doesn’t work. Elect leaders who will patrol bullying.

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Literature Resources – A way to initiate meaningful discussions- 6th grade

  • “A Letter From the Fringe” by Joan Bauer. On the fringe. New York: Dial Books.

  • “Tuesday of the Other June” by Norma Fox Mazer. Short takes: A short story collection for young readers. New York: Lothrop, Lee, and Shepard.

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Literature Resources – a way to initiate meaningful discussions – 7th grade

  • “Muffin” by Susan Cooper. When I was your age. Cambridge, MA: Candlewick.

  • “Shortcut” by Nancy Werlin. On the fringe. New York: Dial Books.

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Literature Resources - a way to initiate meaningful discussions – 8th grade

  • “Your Turn, Norma” by Gary Soto. Petty crimes. San Diego: Harcourt Brace.

  • “Satyagrapha” by Alden Carter. On the fringe. New York: Dial Books.

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Taken from “Young Adult Literature as the Centerpiece of an Anti-Bullying Program in Middle School”, by Carol Hillsberg and Helene Spak, Middle School Journal, November 2006.

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Odd Girl Out by Rachel Simmons.

A national best-seller that was adapted to a television movie of the same title.

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Video Resources

  • Broken Toy. (1992). Presents scenarios in the life of a 12 year old boy who is the victim of bullying.

  • Bully Beware! Take Action against Bullying. (1997). Contains four scenarios of bullying incidents in middle school. Teacher’s guide included.

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Video Resources

  • Don’t Pick on Me. (1993). Two-part program that identifies basic underlying dynamics of teasing and harassment. Provides the basis for generating discussion regarding such behavior.

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The message to our students

  • We will not bully others.

  • We will help students who are bullied.

  • We will make a point to include students who are easily left out.

  • If we know someone is being bullied, we will tell an adult at school.

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Action Plan for the Immediate Future

  • What can you do now, over the next couple of weeks, concerning the issue of bullying.

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School Plan

  • What do we envision??

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Other Websites

  • www.bullying.org

  • www.no-bully.com

  • cyberbully.org

  • www.netbullies.com