When examining the issue of bullying in schools, a definition combining essential elements from a number of definitions serves as a useful guide.
- Bullying is aggression in any form: verbal, emotional, psychological, sexual, or physical.
- When bullying occurs there is an imbalance of power; the person who bullies intends to subjugate the will of another person.
- Those who bully intend to harm someone physically, emotionally, or socially.
- Bullying is an act against an individual or a series of individuals who fear the bully’s power. It is usually characterized by repetition, but not always.
In all cases, an imbalance of power exists.
- Bullying is often organized and systematic.
- Students who bully often feel justified in their behaviour.
- In a school, bullying can occur anywhere and can be perpetrated by anyone. Those who bully can be students or adults.
- Those who bully can operate alone or with accomplices.
- Those who bully rely on bystanders or onlookers either doing nothing to stop the bullying or actually supporting the behaviour.
- A target of bullying may be a single individual or a series of individuals.
- Bullying can occur over a short period of time or go on indefinitely.