Activity II

Activity #2: Is it BULLYING?



Bullying is the current “hot” topic for schools with corresponding obligations. Unless everyone in the school community knows exactly what it is we can’t begin to end the epidemic. This exercise explains the many aspects of bullying and inspires intervention/action.


  • Provide a definition of bullying and its four components.
  • Participants will learn the motivations behind bullying behaviors.
  • Reach an understanding that it takes a community to intervene and work towards a safer environment.


Requirements & Materials

Group Size:     any

Time:               30 minutes

Space:              any, no restrictions or recommendations

Materials:        flip chart paper, markers


  1. Write across the top of chart paper – The 4 Aspects of Bullying
  2. Write down the left side in big bold letters: P.A.I.N.
  3. Lead a group discussion about these four components and make sure to cover some of the key parts as described below:
  • P = Power unequal or Power differential – in every bullying situation there is one person (or many) in power and the target who lacks power in this situation which is what makes the person a target. Discuss the 5 ways people can have power over other people:[ZRZ1] 
  1. Size: one person can be 6 feet tall vs someone 5 feet tall. Or weigh 250 lbs vs someone who weighs 90lbs
  2. Age: a senior picking on a freshman. An adult picking on a student.
  3. Quantity: 6 youth picking on one – ganging up on someone
  4. Smarts: some who is so smart they psychologically are attacking the target through words.
  5. Position: when someone has a position that renders them more powerful. Examples could be someone who uses money to influence others. The head cheerleader or captain of the team or the leader in a group of friends.
  • A = Aggressive. Bullying is an act of aggression. As defined, Aggression, in its broadest sense, is behavior, or a disposition, that is forceful, hostile or attacking. It may occur either in retaliation or without provocation. In most bullying incidents, the aggression is usually unprovoked. Discuss here forms of aggression – ways that people bully: 

Physical forms: tripping, pushing, knocking, putting a sign on someone’s back that reads kick me, pulling hair…

Emotional forms: rumors, lies, not inviting someone to a party, cyberbullying, name calling, exclusion, ignoring someone, blackmail, laughing at the person….

  • I = Intention. There is always an intention behind the behavior and that intention is to be mean and to get something.
  1. Discuss the intentions behind being mean: gives you power, put someone down for attention, laughter, because one thinks it makes them look better by putting someone else down, etc…
  2. There is always a reward from bullying behavior. Discuss what someone would “get”: more attention, laughter, more influence over others, the money (from bullying extortion), suspension (which in some circles is a reward), etc…This concept of reward is one of the key elements in defining bullying and why someone does these bad behaviors. Spend some time on this component. The others are more obvious.
  • N = Numerous. Bullying behavior is not a stand alone, isolated incident. It is very rarely an isolated case by the person doing the bullying behavior or by the target on the receiving end.
  1. End the discussion with some or all of the following thoughts:
  • Bullying will not go away with out intervention!! This is true because of the power differential.
  • Bullying can not be solved by peer mediation! Again this is true because of the power differential: this is not two equal beings choosing to change behavior. The target doesn’t have behavior to change!!
  • Regardless of whether a situation is bullying or just a conflict – if it’s mean behavior someone has to do something. End the discussion with “If IT’S MEAN, INTERVENE!!!”
  1. Process the activity using some or all of the following questions.


Discussion Questions

  1. Any questions?
  2. Any surprises? Did you know this definition of bullying already?
  3. What have you seen at this school?
  4. What stops someone from intervening when they see some one bullying someone else or being mean?
  5. How can someone intervene? (Don’t ask this question if you don’t have time to really process strategies in interrupting bad behavior.)



  • Lead into a discussion on the 5 Roles in a Bullying Situation. See separate exercise.
  • When working with young people, lead a brainstorm discussion on the “Hot Spots” in school. A hot spot is where students see or experience the bullying incidents. Make sure to pinpoint exact locations/be specific. “Stairwells” is not a detailed enough answer – find out exactly which stairwells are unsafe. We know bathrooms are often a key place for bullying incidents – find out which exact bathrooms around the school are the worst. Ask this of the students at least every other month as Hot Spots change locations once we put more safety precautions or more people around to make these areas safer. Don’t gather this information if you don’t plan on doing something about it – young people will realize they are not being supported if you don’t take action after gathering the list.


Extra Facilitator notes

  • We encourage everyone in the school community to participate in this exercise. By everyone we mean: principal, AP, office staff and all administrators, janitors, kitchen help, security guards, teachers and assistant teachers, and every student. The only way to have community action is the whole community is on the same page for what bullying is and why we need to take action when it is seen.
  • The key myth in bullying is that the “bully” does the bad behavior because they have low self-esteem – this is so not true and all the research in the last 22 years says that people bully because they are rewarded for their bad behavior and have average or about average self-esteem. This usually comes up for discussion under the “I” for intention.
  • Bring into the conversation that sometimes bullying happens in the home between older and younger siblings.


 [ZRZ1]Is there only these five? What about identity-based power? i.e. race, religion, language, etc.


One Response to “Activity II”

  1. May 2, 2014 at 6:33 AM #

    Don’t blindly!We must believe ourself.

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