Bullying and Exclusion Print or save as PDF

How is it defined?

Bullying is when a person tries to hurt another person, and does it more than once. It can be physical, verbal, or social, and can also take place over the internet with emails or text messages. The bully is usually in a position of real or perceived power over the person being bullied. Power imbalance is viewed as a characteristic that distinguishes bullying from other similar forms of conflict (Juvonen & Graham, 2014). Exclusion is a form of bullying where students feel excluded or treated unfairly at school because of their ethnic or cultural background, social class, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or other perceived categorical boundary.

Why is it important?

  • Bullying negatively impacts the physical, mental, and educational well-being of students with potentially severe effects (Nansel et al., 2001; Roland, 2002).
  • Schools can equip students with strategies to deal with bullying, exclusion and sexual harassment (O'Moore, 2000).
  • Schools can take steps to reduce the prevalence of bullying, such as stepping in when they observe a student being bullied and ensuring that there are clear consequences for bullying which are consistently enforced (O’Moore, 2000; Pepler, Craig, Ziegler, & Charach, 1994).
  • Effective school safety programs involve clear schoolwide guidelines, involvement from students, parents, and teachers, and increased monitoring in non-classroom areas (Astor, Meyer, Benbenishty, Marachi, & Rosemond, 2005).
  • Successful anti-bullying interventions depend on effective implementation strategies (Ertesvåg, 2015).

How do we measure it?

In OurSCHOOL, parents respond to questions regarding the types of bullying their child may have experienced in the past 4 weeks. Based on parents’ reports, students are considered to be ‘moderate victims of bullying’ if they have experienced any physical bullying in the past month, or any one of verbal, social, or cyber bullying more than once a week. Students are considered to be ‘severe victims of bullying’ if they have experienced physical bullying more than once a week, or any one of verbal, social, or cyber bullying at least 4-5 times a week. The results are reported as “the percentage of students who are victims of moderate bullying”, and “the percentage of students who are victims of severe bullying”. The results are also reported separately for each of the four types of bullying. This enables schools to consider the overall prevalence of bullying as well as determine whether one or more specific types of bullying is especially relevant.

Parents are also asked two additional questions regarding if they felt their child was excluded by other students, or if their child was treated unfairly by school staff. Responses for each question are reported as a percentage.



Astor, R. A., Meyer, H. A., Benbenishty, R., Marachi, R., & Rosemond, M. (2005). School safety interventions: Best practices and programs. Children & Schools, 27(1), 17-32.

Ertesvåg, S. K. (2015). Improving anti-bullying initiatives: The role of an expanded research agenda. Journal of Educational Change, 16(3), 349-370.

Juvonen, J., & Graham, S. (2014). Bullying in schools: The power of bullies and the plight of victims. Annual review of psychology, 65, 159-185.

Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. JAMA, 285(16), 2094-2100.

O'Moore, M. (2000). Critical issues for teacher training to counter bullying and victimisation in Ireland. Aggressive Behaviour, 26(1), 99-111.

Pepler, D. J., Craig, W. M., Ziegler, S. & Charach, A. (1994). An evaluation of an anti-bullying intervention in Toronto schools. Canadian Journal of Community Mental Health, 13(2): 95-110.

Roland, E. (2002). Bullying, depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. Educational Research, 44(1), 55-67.