The word Bully gets thrown around all the time by parents and students. However, from my experience, they do not understand the implications and the power that “the B word” carries. The word bully means something very specific, and a lot of times the word they mean to use is mean or rude. It is up to us teachers to educate our school stakeholders on the differences between the three.
Rude= Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else.
Mean= Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once (or maybe twice).
Bullying = Intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.
The majority of the time, in third grade anyway, the culprit is rudeness. Students are still building their social skills and their self awareness and their ability to think forward to how their words and actions will come across to other people. Sometimes meanness can come into the picture, but many times kids just think that they are being funny or making a joke.