October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and NYSUT and its national affiliates — the American Federation of Teachers and the National Education Association — have made available an array of online resources to raise awareness about this important issue and to provide valuable tools for educators, students and parents.
NYSUT Secretary-Treasurer Lee Cutler, who heads the union’s social justice efforts, has led a number of workshops and meetings across the state detailing how bullying — which can be physical, verbal or cyber — can negatively impact children’s self-image and have lasting effects well into adulthood. Nearly one-third of students have reported being bullied; that number increases significantly when online bullying is factored in.
Research shows that the victims of bullies are more likely than their peers to drop out of school or to be absent from school. Research also shows that children who are bullies are apt to be bullies as adults and are potential abusers of children and spouses.
The union resources include posters, videos, stickers and other materials with an anti-bullying message. NYSUT members are encouraged to download the materials they find most useful for their classroom or to share them with parents and interested community members.
On this page:
What is Bullying?
Bullying is 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. Bullying includes actions such as making threats spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Children at Risk
They are perceived as being different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, tall or short, wearing glasses or different clothing, being the new kid at the school, different sexual orientations, parents can’t afford things that are “cool,”
kids that are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves, are less popular or have few friends.
Child doesn’t want to go to school; has frequent stomachaches or headaches; exhibits lower self-esteem or depression; becomes non-social; has increased feelings of sadness or loneliness, has difficulty sleeping or has nightmares, there’s a change in eating patterns, poor grades, or loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy. Be alert for unexplainable injuries, lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry, sudden loss of friends. Take action if there are any self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, skipping school, harming themselves or talking about suicide.
Never tell the child to ignore the bullying. Do not blame the child for being bullied. Do not tell the child to physically fight back, as that could result in the child getting hurt, suspended or expelled. Allow the school or other officials to act as mediators between parents.
What to do if you witness bullying
Even if kids are not being bullied or bullying others, they can be affected. They may not know what to do to stop it. They may not feel safe stepping in at the moment.
Spend some time with the person being bullied at school. Talk with them, sit with them at lunch, play with them at recess. Listen to them.
Call the person at home to encourage them and let them know that you don’t like bullying and are there for them.
Tell an adult whom you trust, like a teacher or a coach. Tell them in person or leave them a note. Help the person being bullied to get away from the situation.
Kids that bully
Bullies are aggressive or easily frustrated, have less parental involvement or have issues at home. They have difficulty following the rules, view violence in a positive way, have friends that bully others, are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others.
Bullies get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently; have unexplained extra money or new belongings; blame others for their problems; don’t accept responsibility for their actions, are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity.
Kids don’t ask for help because they may fear backlash from the bullies, or other kids. They feel that no one understands or cares, experience feelings of helplessness and try to handle it on their own in order to feel in control again. They may fear being seen as a tattletale or as being weak.
Be aware of the signs that your child is being bullied.
Be aware of your child’s online activities.
Teach your child NEVER to give out personal information such as where they go to school, where they live, name, age, after-school activities.
Listen to your child. Stay calm. Don’t overreact, or your child might shut down.
Keep a precise log of the incidents. Write a letter to the principal so you are taken seriously.
Build strong & positive ties to family, peers & community
Don’t ignore it. Always intervene. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help. Don’t force other kids that witnessed bullying to publicly say what they saw.
Get police involved if you see a weapon, there are threats of serious physical injury, there is sexual abuse, using force to get money, property or services.
For more information go to the StopBullying.gov.
The Dignity for All Students Act
The New York State (NYS) Dignity for All Students (Dignity Act), Chapter 482 of the Laws of 2010, was signed into law on September 13, 2010, effective July 1, 2012. The Dignity Act prohibits harassment and discrimination of individuals on school property or at a school function based upon a person's actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender or sex.
The Dignity Act amends Section 801-a of NYS Education Law regarding instruction in civility, citizenship, and character education by expanding the concepts of tolerance, respect for others and dignity. The Dignity Act further amends Section 2801 of the Education Law requiring Boards of Education and BOCES to include language addressing the legislative requirements in their codes of conduct.
Research indicates that there is a direct link between success in school and the school environment in which student learning takes place. Students are more likely to achieve their full potential in schools that have a positive school culture and an environment in which students feel safe and supported. Creating a school culture of respect is important and hard work. The goal of the Dignity Act is to promote a safe and supportive learning environment in all public schools, free from harassment and discrimination.
NYSUT Fact Sheet 12-06: The Dignity for All Students Act
SED information on The Dignity for All Students Act - Including information on 2013 amendments.
Social Shield is for parents who want to set up a parental control monitoring service to keep track of their kids' activities on Facebook and other major social networking sites. Social Shield also posts articles and has a live support team available if parents want to talk with professionals about their children's activities.
An interactive game that provides students with tips and resources involving cyber bullying.
The Cyber Bullying Research Center provides up-to-date information about the nature, extent, causes, and consequences of cyber bullying among adolescents. Research on cyber bullying is discussed in blogs, videos, presentations, and publications. The website also allows people to share their stories about their own experiences with cyber bullying.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use (CSRIU) is a guide for educators. CSRIU includes professional resources, articles, and reports regarding cyber bullying.
Cyberbullying.org provides examples of what is considered cyber bullying, discusses prevention, and offers other resources for students, parents, and educators to learn more.
Wired Kids Inc. provides kid-friendly information on what cyber bullying is, why it happens, and how to prevent it.
National Crime Prevention Council provides information and resources to curb the growing problem of cyber bullying.
Bully Police reports on legislation across the country regarding changes in state laws that address bullying.
An article created by The National Association of School Psychologists listing bullying facts for schools and parents. The article highlights many factors that cause people to become bullies and victims, along with preventative options for schools, parents, and community members.
StopBullying.gov provides information from various government agencies on how kids, teens, young adults, parents, educators and others in the community can prevent or stop bullying.
The International Bullying Prevention Association (IPBA) supports research based bullying prevention principles and practices in order to achieve a safe school climate, healthy work environment, good citizenship and civic responsibility.
How to Stop Bullying includes statistics, articles, lesson plans/worksheets, videos, and stories from those affected by bullying.
Bully Free Program's mission is to promote a sense of belonging and acceptance of all individuals and to promote the Golden Rule through quality materials, workshops, presentations, and Web resources.
Ground Spark's Respect for All Project facilitates the development of inclusive, bias-free schools and communities by providing media resources, support and training to youth, educators, and service providers.
The OLWEUS (ole-vay-us) Bullying Prevention Program is a research based school-wide systems change program that is effective at reducing rates of bullying in the school community.
Stop Bullying Now is an organization created by Stan Davis. The Stop Bullying Now website provides articles about prevention, along with trainings and training materials for school and community members.
A comprehensive list of articles and programs that address bullying and bully prevention.
'A Classroom of Difference' is a program designed to address diversity issues in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade school communities. The program provides an anti-bias curriculum supplying teachers with lessons to help students explore bigotry and prejudice, examine diverse viewpoints, and take leadership roles.
American Federation of Teachers (AFT) gives teachers a list of resources to make a difference in their classrooms. The website contains tips on how to identify bullies and victims, how to create a safe environment, and access to webinars discussing the 'See a Bully, Stop a Bully: Make a Difference Campaign'.
i-SAFE Inc. is a non-profit organization dedicated to educating and empowering youth (and others) to safely, responsibly and productively use Information and Communications Technologies (ICT). i-SAFE provides classroom curriculum for primary and secondary school students.
A list of chat acronyms and text message shorthand; smileys and emoticons.
The National Education Association's “Bully Free: It Starts With Me”, Campaign Against Bullying has resources and information to put an end to bullying at your school.
The mission of RFK Project SEATBELT is to create the conditions at home, at school, and in the community so that treating EVERYONE with respect becomes the norm – in other words, universal respect becomes as automatic as fastening a seat belt.
This website consists of a variety of articles and resources for parents and educators. Articles range in focus from discovering the warning signs of bullying, how to prevent bullying, and the long-term consequences.
National School Climate Center is an organization that helps schools integrate crucial social and emotional learning with academic instruction. In doing so, NSCC enhances student performance, prevents dropouts, reduces physical violence and bullying, and develops healthy and positively engaged adults.
The National Cyber Security Alliance's mission is to educate and empower a digital society to use the internet safely and securely at home, work, and school, protecting the technology individuals use, the networks they connect to and our shared digital assets.
PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center unites, engages, and educates communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant, and interactive resources.
RelationalAggression.com discusses the emotional and psychological side of bullying. Contributors post blogs and articles associated with relational aggression.
Utterly Global creates safe school and community environments through positive character development. Their website provides research-based programs for schools, bullying prevention camps, campaigns, and training for parents and staff.
Bully Bust is a nationwide bully prevention awareness effort designed to help students and adults stand up to bullying and become part of the solution. This site includes resources for students, parents, and educators on how to address bullying effectively. Bully Bust is a program of the National School Climate Center.
Net Smartz Workshop is an interactive, educational program of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that provides age appropriate resources to teach children how to be safer on and offline. The resources included on this website are, videos, games, activity cards, and presentations.
Time for Tolerance website was created for kids ages 9-16+. The site encourages children to take action and to make changes in their schools, homes, and neighborhoods.
Interactive website to educate kids about bullying. Kids can play games and read kid-friendly articles about the subject.
Interactive website to educate teens about bullying prevention and what they can do to help support the cause.
Girlshealth.gov discusses bullying specifically targeting young women. Articles, quizzes, and other helpful links provide young women with a variety of information about bullying.
Facebook for Parents is an online class and a book created by Dr. BJ Fogg, a psychologist at Stanford University, and his sister Linda Fogg Phillips.
SafeKids.com offers guidelines, tips, and tools, for parents and children to practice online safety and civility.
SafeTeens.com is a place for teens and their parents to learn safe, civil and responsible use of the Internet.
ConnectSafely.org is for parents, teens, educators, advocates - everyone engaged in and interested in the impact of the social Web. ConnectSafely.org also has all kinds of social-media safety tips for teens and parents, the latest youth-tech news, and many other resources.
OnGuardOnline.gov provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
SafetyWeb is the company behind the SafetyWeb service, a Web-based internet monitoring service for parents that makes it easier to protect the reputation, privacy, and safety of kids online. SafetyWeb is also behind the SafetyWeb Online Tracker (SWOT) service that is used by law enforcement nationwide to assist in the search for missing children.