Conflict in the playground occurs - it is normal because it is part of being human. Not every conflict however, is bullying. One child saying to another you can't play this game is unkind and unfair but not necessarily an instance of bullying. That would require the action to be repeated and for the bully to get others involved in isolating the student. Disagreements can be sorted out by getting teachers involved and by teaching children conflict resolution skills.
"Bullying is repeated verbal, physical, social or psychological behaviour that is harmful and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. Cyberbullying refers to bullying through information and communication technologies.
Bullying can involve humiliation, domination, intimidation, victimisation and all forms of harassment including that based on sex, race, disability, homosexuality or transgender. Bullying of any form or for any reason can have long-term effects on those involved including bystanders.
Bullying can happen anywhere: at school, travelling to and from school, in sporting teams, between neighbours or in the workplace.
Bullying behaviour can be:
- verbal eg name calling, teasing, abuse, putdowns, sarcasm, insults, threats
- physical eg hitting, punching, kicking, scratching, tripping, spitting
- social eg ignoring, excluding, ostracising, alienating, making inappropriate gestures
- psychological eg spreading rumours, dirty looks, hiding or damaging possessions, malicious SMS and email messages, inappropriate use of camera phones.
Conflict or fights between equals and single incidents are not defined as bullying. Bullying behaviour is not:
- children not getting along well
- a situation of mutual conflict
- single episodes of nastiness or random acts of aggression or intimidation."
sourced from the NSW education department http://www.schools.nsw.edu.au/studentsupport/bullying/definition/index.php
Even more importantly I believe the bystanders-the people who see and hear it- must speak up on behalf of the victim. When this happens I believe instances of bullying will greatly reduce. However for that to occur the bystanders need to be sure they will be safe and will not be bullied which is often why students see and hear things but are too scared to report them for fear of reprisals. This is the culture that needs to change.
Please read our Bullying policy on www.chcs.tas.edu.au. Located under publications: school policies