Greensburg Daily News, Greensburg, IN

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February 15, 2014

Bullying takes many forms

GREENSBURG – The second installment of the Daily News’ series on bullying covers six different kinds of bullying and how to recognize the signs that one is a victim of mistreatment.

One of the most recognizable kinds of bullying is physical. There are many different types of negative physical interactions that may occur between young people. Although bullying often takes a mental and emotional toll, when it turns physical, it can quickly become dangerous.

Physical bullying includes hitting, kicking, tripping, pinching, pushing or otherwise physically harming another person. Physical intimidation may also include damaging or stealing another person’s property.

While any of these actions is reprehensible in themselves, they are not considered physical bullying unless the same victim is targeted repeatedly, with the intention to hurt, embarrass or intimidate. It may also be considered bullying if the situation involves a real or perceived imbalance of power. For example, the bully may be stronger or have a higher social standing than the victim, causing the bullied student to feel helpless and unable to remove themselves from the situation.

Common warning signs of physical harassment may include unexplained injuries the child is reluctant to discuss or explain; lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry; anxiety or fear of going to school; being depressed or teary when arriving home; low self-esteem and frequent complaints about stomach aches, headaches or other physical ailments, especially prior to school. The affected student may try to avoid riding the bus or taking a certain way to and from school, experience mood swings or talk about harming themselves or others. Bullied children may experience all these signs, or none of them. There is no set formula for how one will react to repeated mistreatment.

Verbal bullying is harder to recognize because no physical harm takes place and if the incident isn’t witnessed, it can be difficult to prove. Words have the power to cause serious, often permanent, harm. True verbal abuse goes so much further than just uttering hurtful words. Saying pointlessly cruel things to another person is mean, but with verbal bullying, the goal is to demean and degrade the victim to make the bully appear powerful and dominant.

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