Bullying is the most common form of youth violence. Bullying is any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another peer, that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is usually repeated multiple times. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted person including physical, emotional, social, or educational harm. 

If you know someone is being bullied at school then be a positive bystander and intervene. In some situations it is okay to step up and speak out against the bully, but other times it is better to go to a higher authority; that’s why Friends for Life is here.

Did You Know?

  • 1 in 5 high school students reported being bullied on school property in the last year.
  • Reports of bullying are highest for middle schools (28%) followed by high schools (16%).
  • A significantly higher percentage of lesbian, gay, or bisexual students (33.0%) were bullied at school than heterosexual students (17.1%).

The 3 Forms of Bullying

  • Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, punching, spitting, tripping, or any other form of the bully inflicting physical harm on their peer.
  • Verbal bullying includes teasing, name calling, verbal/written threats, and inappropriate sexual comments.
  • Social bullying includes excluding someone from social groups, spreading rumors, and intentionally making embarrassing comments. 

Signs that may point to a bullying problem include: 

  • Unexplainable injuries.
  • Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry.
  • Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness.
  • Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating; coming home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares.
  • Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school.
  • Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations.
  • Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem.
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide.

Being a Positive Bystander in a Bullying Situation:

A bystander is someone who is not actively being bullied but is witnessing bullying firsthand. Anyone can be a bystander including other students, teachers, coaches, school staff, etc. 

  • Use humor to redirect the bullying behavior, especially verbal and social bullying.
  • Reach out privately to check in with the person who was bullied to let them know you care and are there for them.
  • Walk with the person who is the target of bullying to help diffuse and prevent potential bullying interactions. Remember, there is strength in numbers!
  • Tell a trusted adult about the bullying situation, especially if the bullying is physical in nature.
  • Submit an anonymous tip to Friends for Life.

David’s Law:

  • This law is named after David Molak, a 16-year old student from San Antonio, TX who took his own life in 2016 after relentless harassment and bullying online. With the support of the PTA, David’s family was able to convince the 85th Texas State Legislature to pass David’s Law on September 1st, 2017.
  • Most significantly, this law amended the existing Education Code by better defining and including cyberbullying more thoroughly when addressing bullying. The law provides for anonymous reporting for students, including cyberbullying off campus and after school hours. In addition, it has set up clearer guidelines for reporting bullying/cyberbullying by designated school personnel without worry of unreasonable penalty or repercussion.
  • For a David’s Law overview, please click here.
  • For the full text of David’s Law, please click here.

For a full list of Anti-Bullying laws in the state of Texas, please visit https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/laws/texas.

Visit your school’s website to learn more about their anti-bullying policies and codes.