RefinED Character is an educational consulting company specializing in social emotional development for preK-12 and collegiate communities.


Bullying vs. Peer Mistreatment

Posted by Scott Heydt on Friday, February 14, 2014 Under: Bullying and Its Effects

RefinED Friends,

In January, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Education (ED) released a uniform definition for bullying.  It reads as follows:  

Bullying is any unwanted aggressive behavior(s) by another youth or group of youths who are not siblings or current dating partners that involves an observed or perceived power imbalance and is repeated multiple times or is highly likely to be repeated. Bullying may inflict harm or distress on the targeted youth including physical, psychological, social, or educational harm. 

This definition serves as a starting point for conversations among educations, practitioners, parents, and policymakers. A uniform definition ensures we're all in alignment with what we see.

What requires caution, though, is waiting until the repetition, or likelihood of repetition, occurs before intervening.  This is where the work of Stan Davis and Charisse Nixon's Youth Voice Project becomes imperative. In their recently published findings, they emphasize that cruel behavior causes harm.  That harm occurs whether it is intended, whether a power differential exists, or whether it is repeated.  They state, "When deciding how to respond to a behavior, we can be more effective if we look at one variable only: the potential form harm in that action (pg. 3)." 

The result is a focus on recognizing and addressing peer mistreatment at every level.  Instead of playing "find the bully", we watch for harmful actions---we address harmful actions.  Taking a stance against bullying is a powerful message.  Taking a stance against peer mistreatment is transformational.


In : Bullying and Its Effects 

Tags: "youth voice project" bullying bully "peer mistreatment" "stan davis" "charisse nixon" "uniform definition for bullying"