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What Is Bullying?

Bullying is a disrespectful behavior that is intentional and aggressive. Bullying is more than a disagreement and can be:

Physical - hitting, kicking, spitting, pushing, taking personal belongings

Verbal - taunting, teasing, name calling, gossiping, making threats

Social - spreading rumors, manipulating, excluding/isolating, intimidation, interfering with the friendships of others, cyberbullying, sexting

How Does Bullying Impact Children?

Children and youth who are bullied tend to have more headaches, sleeping problems, and stomach aches than children who are not bullied. They also have higher rates of moderate depression and thoughts of suicide than kids who aren’t bullied.

As children who are involved in bullying behavior grow up, they tend to commit more crimes, report higher rates of alcoholism and commit more spousal abuse than those who did not bully others when they were younger.

Common Bullying Myths:

MYTH: Kids will be kids. They are just teasing.

FACT: Teasing is only teasing if both people think it is funny. Bullying should not be a normal part of growing up. It effects children’s mental well being, academic performance and physical health.

MYTH: Kids who are bullied need to learn how to deal with bullying on their own.

FACT: Bullying is a form of victimization or peer abuse. Children should not be expected to “deal with it on their own.” Adults and other children who witness or observe bullying have a critical role to play in helping to stop the bullying.

MYTH: Bullying does not have long-term effects on children.

FACT: Children who are bullied are more likely than other children to be depressed, lonely, and anxious; have low self-esteem; and feel physically unwell.

MYTH: Children & youth who bully are mostly loners with few social skills and friends.

FACT: Sometimes popular students gain power by hurting others. At least a small group of friends support and encourage the bullying behavior.

MYTH Once a bully, always a bully.

FACT: Everyone can learn to “walk in someone else’s shoes” and learn better ways to get along with others.

MYTH: Bullying is the same thing as a disagreement.

FACT: Bullying is not just disagreeing about something. It is aggressive behavior that involves an imbalance of power or strength. It is often repeated over time.


What Parents Can Do...

Mom and kids

First, focus on your child. Be supportive, listen and gather information about the bullying.
Never tell your child to ignore bullying. What the child may “hear” is that you are going to ignore it. If your child were able to simply ignore it, he or she likely would not have told you about it. Often, trying to ignore bullying allows it to become more serious.

Contact your child’s teacher or principal to report bullying and to find out about the school’s bullying prevention plan.
Keep your emotions in check. Give factual information about your child’s experience of being bullied, including who, what, when, where and how.

Help your child become more resilient.
Talk to your child about being with friends and knowing which friends he or she can count on. Encourage positive relationships by teaching them to hang out with kids that make them feel good about themselves.


Bullying Prevention Video

See more Anti-Bullying videos


Bullying Prevention Resources

Bullying Resources

Want to Know More?



  • The Bully, the Bullied & the Bystander. Barbara Coloroso. (2008)
  • Bullyproof Your Child for Life. Joel Haber, Ph.D. (2007)
  • APS Student Behavior Handbook is available at your child’s school or

What Is APS Doing?

Albuquerque Public Schools is committed to providing a safe, respectful and fear-free environment for all members of the school community.

Each school is developing and implementing a Bullying Prevention Plan that will keep our children safe.

Each school plan includes:

  • A reporting system for the students and parents to report bullying situations
  • A plan of action that outlines each school’s response to bullying situations
  • School staff will be trained on the Bullying Prevention Plan
  • Parents will be offered training and materials on bullying prevention from the school
  • All students will receive lessons that will help them to recognize, report and respond to bullying situations


prevention plan

Spotlight on Bullying

Spotlight on Bullying

Spotlight On Bullying focuses on how educators and policymakers are working to prevent bullying and the harmful experience associated with it.

Bullying Saturation

Here’s the thing about directing our attention so fully and passionately toward bullying:
The people most affected by it are sick of talking about it.”
Heidi Stevens, Chicago Tribune

Call it something else

  •  Mistreatment
  •  Describe the behavior
    • Exclusion
    • Put Downs
    • Intimidation
    • Unwanted physical contact

Bullying Is...

  •  Imbalance of Power: Involved parties feel differently about the outcome
    • Target feels scared, afraid, or hurt
    • Aggressor feels empowered or unconcerned
  •  Repeated over time
    • Think about impact
  •  Intent
    • Determined by an adult

Bullying Is Not...

  • A conflict to be mediated — this sends the message that both parties are responsible
  • Rite of passage or a normal part of growing up
  • Harmless fun

  • About anger

Underlying causes...

Why does bullying happen?

  • The aggressor has a need to feel more powerful and in control
  • The target doesn’t feel very sure of themselves, is concerned about how they are being perceived, or is an extreme minority
  • The bystanders feel immobilized and afraid to intervene
  • Adults either aren’t paying attention, aren’t intervening when they see the behavior, and/or they don’t follow through or aren’t consistent in their responses
  • The culture supports and promotes getting needs met through violence

Bullying Facts

  • What does bullying look like?
  • Bullying Prevalence
  • Effects of Bullying
  • Changing Perspective

Bullying can take three forms…

fist scream eyeball


  • Hitting
  • Kicking
  • Spitting
  • Pushing
  • Taking personal belongings


  • Taunting
  • Malicious teasing
  • Name calling
  • Making threats


  • Spreading rumors
  • Manipulating social relationships
  • Engaging in social exclusion
  • Extortion or intimidation

Which is easiest to see?
Which causes the most harm?
Which do your current rules address?

How prevalent is bullying?

  • 160,000 students stay home from school each day because they are afraid1
  • Nearly one-third of all school age children are bullied each year- upwards of 13 million2
  • Almost half of middle school students in Bernalillo County reported being bullied in the past 12 months3

1. US Department of Education
2. Pacer's National Bullying Prevention Center
3. 2011 NM Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey

Effects of Bullying

  • Most bullying prevention strategies focus on targets telling adults when they are bullied
  • Moving away from focusing on aggressors to bystanders
  • Moving away from labeling young people and reinforcing stereotypes
  • 65% of young people never tell an adult when they have been bullied
  • 85% of those involved in a bullying incident are bystanders
  • Most people have been targeted, been an aggressor and been a bystander– the roles can be very fluid.

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