Bullying Prevention

Bullying Prevention in the Minneapolis Public Schools

Bullying Prevention in the Minneapolis Public Schools
Bully free hands

October is Bullying Prevention Month when MPS kicks off our violence prevention efforts for the school year. Contact Out4Good for support and let us know what you’re planning—we’d love to see your work in action!

What is Bullying?

Bullying encompasses a wide range of behaviors intended to hurt someone. This could include, but certainly is not limited to:

  • Hitting
  • Teasing
  • Spreading rumors and gossip
  • Stealing

It can sometimes be hard to recognize bullying. Children may sometimes feud or roughhouse. The behavior becomes bullying when one person has more power and uses their power to fight, frighten or exclude other people. 

Face-to-Face and Behind-the-Back Bullying

Face-to-Face bullying behaviors include hitting, fighting or threatening. They are easier to observe. However, bullying can also take the form of more subtle behaviors like getting peers to exclude others and spreading hurtful rumors and gossip. 

How Bullying Impacts Children

Both types of bullying jeopardize children's safety and can create both short and long-term consequences for all involved. Children who are bullied may be more likely to develop academic problems and psychological difficulties in the future. Problems like low self-esteem and depression can linger long into adulthood. 

Children who bully other kids can also suffer serious long-term consequences, like problems developing and maintaining positive relationships. 

Is Bullying an Inevitable Part of Growing Up?

The occasional conflict between two peers with equal power is inevitable, but bullying is not inevitable. During a conflict, both sides have equal power to solve a problem. When bullying occurs, however, one individual uses their power to control another, with harmful consequences that can linger well into adulthood. 

What Should I do if My Child is Being Bullied?

Bullies try to elicit certain reactions from the children they target. Help your child respond in ways that don't reward bullying behavior, like

  • Respond assertively (e.g., "That's bullying, and I want you to stop!")
  • Reporting the bullying behavior to a trusted adult at school or a parent
  • Instruct your child not to fight back physically, which can prolong the bullying behavior and lead to injury
  • Model positive relationship building skills with your child, such as being respectful, being assertive and making friendly conversation

What Are Some Strategies for Handling Bullies?

  • Avoidance is often a good strategy. Try playing a different game somewhere else
  • Stay close to a supervising adult
  • Look for ways to find new friends
  • Support your child by encouraging them to make new friends and get involved in new social activities. Strong friendships can help buffer the negative effects of bullying. 

 While people of all ages experience some conflict in relationships, learning to recognize and respond effectively to bullying can help children learn positive relationship skills that will last a life-time. 

Committee for Children: What Parents Should Know About Bullying

Additional Resources