A Guide to





Schoolyard bullying is a significant and perva­sive problem involving numerous school children. Fear is a part of the everyday lives of bullying targets. They avoid certain areas of school, skip school, play sick or actually become sick under the pressure. Fear is felt by not only the target but also other classmates and adults. The normal growing up process does not include kids abusing other kids. Adults must take responsibility for setting and enforcing norms that do not tolerate bullying behavior. The bully himself also needs help. When their behavior goes unchecked, bullies often continue a lifelong destructive pattern.



A child is being bullied or targeted when he or she is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more other children.
Negative actions refer to actual attacks and/or attempts to injure or humiliate another person. This concept of bullying includes physical and verbal attacks.
Bullying can take direct or indirect forms. Direct bullying involves open attacks on a target. Indirect bullying is often covert in nature and frequently takes the form of social isolation and exclusion from a group.
Although bullying is often physical, words can hurt just as much. Parents tend to think that physical bullying is more dangerous, but an unkind nickname can stick for years and ruin a child’s life. The following are typical examples of bullying behaviors:

name calling
making fun of someone because of the way they look or act
deliberately ignoring/not talking to some­one
writing anonymous notes
making anonymous phone calls
making a fool of someone in front of other people
talking about a person behind their back
hitting someone
robbing someone
pressuring someone to take drugs


  • .15% of school children are involved in bully- target problems.

    I in 10 students report being regularly harassed or attacked by bullies.

    Bullies have a 1 in 4 (25%) chance of having a criminal record by age 30 compared to a I in 20 chance for other children.

    40% of bullied students in primary grades and 60% of bullied students in secondary grades reported that teachers tried to put a stop to bullying only “once in a while” or “almost never.

    60 -70% of students are not involved in bully­ing either as targets or perpetrators. It is essen­tial to engage these students in efforts to counteract bullying.

    80% of 8th through 12th graders reported being bullied at some point.

    90% of 4th through 8th graders reported being bullied at some point.

    14% of 8th through 12th graders reported bullying diminished their ability to learn in school.

    22% of 4th through 8th graders reported academic difficulties resulting from peer abuse.

    Targets are far more likely to bring a weapon to school to protect themselves. 29% of targets brought weapons to school.

    8% of students report being bullied at least once a week.


    Few memories of childhood may be as powerful as that of the class bully lurking, teasing, shoving, never missing a chance to harass a target. The bully
    big, strong, seemingly intrepid  was always on the look-out for opportunities to pick on vulnerable children, usually smaller or younger.

    Bullying, too often perceived as simply a ‘kids will be kids’ problem, is dead serious. It’s just as troublesome and prevalent now as it was in your childhood. Studies show that one in ten students is regularly harassed or attacked by bullies; 15 percent of all school children are involved in bully/target problems. Equally strong in the inner cities and rural communities, bullies have become the topic of considerable research among American educators, researchers, and law enforcement officers. Contrary to popular belief, bullying targets don’t always differ much from other kids. Children who wear glasses, are chubby, have red hair, speak with a foreign accent, or wear unstylish clothes do not automatically invite bully attacks. Generally, however, targets are physically weaker, often younger.
    They may be lonely children with few friends. Somehow targets become accessible to attack by the route they walk to and from school, by the bus stop they frequent, by the street they live on, etc. Most important: bullies, their targets, and bystanders need the help of caring adults in our schools and communities.


    Didn’t fit in  Didn’t fit in  1
    Who friends were  Who friends were  2
    Physical weakness  Clothes worn  3
    Short tempered Facial appearance  4
    Clothes worn Overweight  5


    Didn’t fit in Didn’t fit in 1
    Who friends were  Who friends were 2
    Physical weakness Clothes worn 3
    Short tempered Facial appearance 4
    Clothes worn Overweight 5
         * Source: Hoover, Oliver, and Thompson, 1993
    ** Source: Hoover, Oliver and Hazier, 1992

                                                                                             Safe Schools
                                                          & Communities


                         DRUGS DON'T WORK
                                        For more information, call

                                                             The Safe Schools and Communities Coalition

                                                                    DRUGS DON’T WORK!
                                                                       30 Arbor Street
                                                                   Hartford, CT 06106
    860.523.8042 ext. 36