Bullying, inappropriate behaviour and peer pressure

A problem for many young people

Bullying or harassment of any kind is unacceptable at school. If it does occur, students are encouraged to speak to a member of staff in the secure knowledge that incidents will be dealt with promptly and effectively. School rules, regulations, codes of conduct and boundaries are put in place to ensure they are safeguarded at all times.

People get picked on for lots of reasons. Being bullied can make them dread going to school and can also make them feel depressed, lonely and even suicidal. Bullying can take many forms from physical or verbal abuse to sexual and psychological bullying. It also includes issues that are less visible, like sending nasty texts or spreading gossip about someone.

  • Emotional bullying includes: tormenting, excluding someone, anonymous letters/texts, demanding money, demanding coursework to copy.

  • Physical bullying includes: punching, kicking, hitting or any use of violence, stealing, damaging belongings.

  • Sexual bullying includes: unwanted physical contact or sexually abusive comments.

  • Verbal bullying includes: name-calling, sarcasm, spreading rumours, teasing, ‘putting down’.

  • Racist bullying includes: racial taunts, graffiti, gestures.

  • Homophobic bullying includes: comments about someone’s sexuality.

  • Cyber-bullying can relate to any of the above but using social media websites (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), emails, smart phones or other technology. It can include private sexual images being circulated among peers or uploaded online or people being pressured to send inappropriate images (sexting).


Cyberbullying is bullying by text, instant messaging or email messages. It can be making insulting comments about someone on the internet through a website or through social networking sites. It can also be the uploading of embarrassing videos or photographs by people they trusted on the internet or distributing them by mobile phones. Tell them not to respond to the messages, but to save them or take a screen shot as evidence.

There are ‘report abuse’ facilities on many websites. Tell them to inform a member of staff. In some cases they may want to involve the police.

Inappropriate behaviour

Be aware of the way you treat others as well as the way others treat you. Inappropriate behaviour ranges from minor incidents to serious offences. Examples of inappropriate behaviour include rudeness, discrimination, assault and sexual harassment. In some cases it will be very clear what is inappropriate behaviour whilst at other times something may make you feel uncomfortable, but the behaviour is more subtle and difficult to describe. If a person makes you feel uncomfortable, then their behaviour is inappropriate and it is important to speak up.

Examples of inappropriate behaviour
Behaviours that are considered to be inappropriate, concerning or threatening include:

  • Angry, aggressive communications (verbal or written).

  • Unwanted attention.

  • Written material (emails, texts or letters) that suggest a student may be unstable or have mental health issues.

  • Sexual harassment (unwelcome sexual conduct of any kind).

  • Stalking (repeated attempts to impose unwanted communication or contact).

  • An uttered threat to harm another.

  • Using or viewing pornography in a way that contravenes a school’s IT Policy and/or affects others.

  • Bullying.

  • Any act of physical violence, property damage, or production of a weapon.

  • Violence.

Equally, if they act in, or think about acting in an inappropriate way it is important for them to get help. Are they being treated badly by someone, or has someone acted inappropriately towards them in the past? Tell them to talk to their teacher or school nurse.

All schools have a Bullying and Harassment Policy and Procedures containing more information and guidelines for students who are experiencing a bullying issue.

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