Get Melissa’s Newsletter Free for a Month

Each month, her newsletter includes:
book reviews, tips and advice for parents,
teachers’ toolbox and more!

You Are Your Child’s Best Defense Against Against Bullying

School safety on today’s campus means more than practicing fire drills. Students need to be equipped with proactive tactics to combat bullying in school and cyberspace.

School violence is at the forefront of parents’ minds and in the news every day. Sadly, 15–30% of students are either bullies or victims, making bullying the most common form of violence in our society.

What’s a school to do?
It is common to see schools creating bullying policies and adopting programs to combat the issue, which is good news.

According to, students report that bullying takes place both on campus and through cyberbullying. Over 40% of students are concerned about being bullied on campus and 97% of middle school students have been bullied online.

What’s a parent to do?
As your child’s primary educator, you are the best and first line of defense in keeping your child from being bullied or becoming a bully.

Yes, schools should take precautions to combat bullying and educate faculty, parents and students about the short- and long-term effects bullying has on the victim and the perpetrator. But the bottom line is that safety preparation starts with you.

Start now
Educate yourself on how and why bullying happens. The following information is provided to help parents recognize and understand the many elements involved in bullying.

Types of bullying

  • Physical/Direct – Hitting, punching, scratching, kicking, spitting or other forms of a physical attack.
  • Emotional/Indirect – Spreading rumors or stories, systematically excluding someone from activities, tormenting a student by making fun of a handicap or related issue, using sexist or racist slurs, name calling and various threats.
  • Cyber – Using the Internet or cell phones to inflict emotional harm on another child by posting negative images, sending threats, leaving hurtful voice mails, creating negative web sites or posting negative information on social networking sites.

Girls and boys tend to bully in different ways

  • Male bullying tends to be physical or involve intimidation and coercion (handing over lunch money)
  • Female bullying tends to be indirect. Girls are more likely to exclude one another, spread rumors and use cyberbullying as a tool for harassment.
  • This doesn’t mean girls never get physical or boys never use the Internet to bully. These patterns simply expose how gender can affect the type of bullying taking place in a given situation.

Types of Bullies
Current research reveals different roles children play in the bullying cycle.

  • Ring Leader – The person who leads or dictates the act of bullying through intimidation and influence.
  • Assistant – The person who participates in the bullying to avoid being a target of the ringleader.
  • Reinforcer – A child who shows positive encouragement toward the main bully.
  • Bystander – A student who witnesses bullying but stays silent out of fear, which appears to condone the act. It is very easy for children to fall into this category.
  • Defender – The student who stands up against a bully or group of bullies.

Many students engage in bullying as a group because it allows them to feel they are not responsible for their behavior. It can be extremely difficult for children to walk away when it’s the popular kids who are doing the bullying.

Email Melissa or call (713) 444-6471

To schedule Melissa to speak at your parent or teacher group about how to combat bullying and cyberbullying.