Bullying is different from conflict.
Bullying is done with a goal to hurt, harm, or humiliate. With bullying, there is often a power imbalance between those involved, with power defined as elevated social status, being physically larger, or as part of a group against an individual. Students who bully perceive their target as vulnerable in some way and often find satisfaction in harming them.
In normal conflict, children self-monitor their behavior. They read cues to know if lines are crossed, and then modify their behavior in response. Children guided by empathy usually realize they have hurt someone and will want to stop their negative behavior. On the other hand, children intending to cause harm and whose behavior goes beyond normal conflict will continue their behavior even when they know it's hurting someone.
Peer pressure occurs when a peer group or individual encourages others to change their attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual.
Peer pressure can impact bullying behavior both in positive and negative ways. For example, the influence can have negative effects if a peer group’s bullying behavior encourages others to laugh at someone. It can also be negative when the group views other individuals as not worthy to be part of their group. The impact of negative peer pressure can create environments in which individuals are intimidated to speak out on behalf of someone being hurt or harmed.
Peer pressure can also be positive and healthy. For example, when the peer group encourages kind and inclusive behavior, such as inviting others to join them at the lunch table or letting someone know that they care what is happening to them. The action of peers encouraging each other to reach out to those who are struggling can have a positive impact on the group and other individuals who want to speak out against bullying.
Bullying and harassment are often used interchangeably when talking about hurtful or harmful behavior. They are very similar, but in terms of definition, there is an important difference.
Bullying and harassment are similar as they are both about:
The distinction between bullying and harassment is that when the bullying behavior directed at the target is also based on a protected class, that behavior is then defined as harassment. Protected classes include race, color, religion, sex, age, disability and national origin.
Safety is one of our district’s top priorities and to help safeguard our school community, our district is now using Keenan SafeSchools Alert, a tip reporting system that allows students, staff, and parents to submit safety concerns to our administration four different ways.
Every tip Keenan SafeSchools Alert receives about our district is immediately logged in the system and our administration is notified so that they can investigate and take appropriate action. To protect your identity, you may choose to submit your tip anonymously.
Together, using Keenan SafeSchools Alert, we can make our district a safer place for students to learn! Thanks in advance for your support.