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Bullying Prevention and Response

For children and youth to thrive in their schools and communities, they need to feel safe and be safe — socially, emotionally, and physically. They need to feel as if they belong, and they need to feel valued. Youth, parents, schools, communities, and others have a role to play in building positive, supportive environments for children and youth, promoting acceptance and respect among all individuals, and ultimately, fostering youth development and learning. Bullying is a form of youth violence, aggressive behavior that is intentional and that involves an imbalance of power or strength. Although definitions of bullying vary, most agree that bullying usually includes:

  • attack or intimidation with the intention to cause fear, distress, or harm that is either:
    • physical (e.g., hitting, punching),
    • verbal (e.g., name-calling, teasing), or
    • psychological/relational (e.g., rumors, social exclusion);
  • a real or perceived imbalance of power between the bully and victim; and
  • repeated attacks or intimidation between the same children over time (Farrington & Ttofi, 2010).

Bullying can occur in person or through technology, called “electronic aggression” or “cyberbullying.”

Understanding bullying is complicated by the fact that a young person can be a bully, a victim, or both a bully and a victim (called “bully-victims”) (Wang, Iannotti, & Nansel, 2009).

The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Steering Committee has partnered with the Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs to share information the federal government has prepared to help prevent and address bullying in communities.

See federal anti-bullying resources at http://www.bullyinginfo.org/

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