The stopbullying.gov website at http://www.stopbullying.gov/what-is-bullying/definition/ defines bullying as “Bullying may be defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”

Bullying behavior may be verbal, social or physical. Verbal bullying may be out loud or in writing. Verbal bullying may include teasing, name-calling, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting or threatening to cause harm. Social or relational bullying hurts someone’s reputation or relationships. Examples of this are leaving someone out of an activity on purpose; telling others not to be friends with someone; spreading rumors about someone or embarrassing someone in public. Physical bullying involves hurting a person’s body or possessions. Examples of physical bullying are hitting, kicking, spitting, tripping, pushing, taking or breaking someone’s things or making rude hand gestures.

Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen travelling to or from school, in the youth’s neighborhood, or on the Internet.

Some steps to help prevent bullying include talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy. Talk with your kids and join the Malheur County Drug Free Communities Coalition to make a difference. Call Lifeways at 541-889-9167 for more information.