No single factor puts a
child at risk of being bullied or bullying others. Bullying can happen anywhere
- at school, parks, in after school programs, or online. Depending on the
environment, some youth are at higher risk for bullying. Lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth, youth with
disabilities, children who are overweight or underweight, and youth from a minority race, ethnicity, or religion may be at an increased risk of being bullied. Because they are
often perceived as being different by their peers, children with special health care needs are also at higher risk of being targeted.
For example, results from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that nationwide, more U.S. high school students who
self-identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB) report having been bullied on
school property (33%) and cyberbullied (27.1%) in the past year than their
heterosexual peers (17% and 13.3% respectively).
To help make schools safe and more inclusive for all students, teachers can
implement social emotional learning. Activities that foster peer relationships
and help build understanding and empathy contribute to a positive school
climate. They can engage students in developing high-interest activities where
everyone has a role to play in designing, executing, or participating.
Conducting team-based learning activities that rotate student groupings can
help to link students with peers outside their social group. Implementing buddy
systems for children with special needs will connect them with supportive
peers. Parents can role model and teach moral engagement to foster empathy,
kindness, and inclusion of others by their children.
StopBullying.gov has resources for teachers, parents, and youth on bullying
prevention. The Bystanders are Essential to Preventing Bullying Fact Sheet has tips for bullying intervention. Teachers and parents can use Preventing Bullying Through Moral Engagement to help foster empathy in