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By Ken Rigby

Bullying is now greatly known as a significant challenge that aff ects many young ones in faculties. it will probably take many varieties, together with direct verbal and actual harassment and oblique varieties reminiscent of planned exclusion and the focusing on of people utilizing cyber technology.

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Many incidents will be misunderstood or misconstrued, because the sequence of events preceding the ‘negative action’ will not be known, and bullying essentially involves repeated episodes. Finally, it does not allow us to gauge the degree of distress (except quite crudely) occasioned by the treatment. ‘Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches’, has been well said. Observations by others If we turn to the judgements of people who have had the opportunity to observe bullying happening in their environment over a period of time, we are likely to gain some quite useful information.

Qxd 19/9/07 12:45 PM Page 22 BULLYING IN SCHOOLS Australian schools, and I do not intend to examine it further in this book. Although what is called harassment can be very damaging, the term is often employed to describe less violent and abusive behaviour. For more physical forms of aggression, the term ‘bullying’ is more frequently used. Both words can be, and sometimes are, used to describe abuses of power that include a wide range of abusive behaviours. However, for the not-so-serious behaviours, such as pestering someone in an annoying way, ‘harassment’ is the word more likely to spring to mind.

At the root of harassment are prejudiced social beliefs about certain groups of people. Harassment is an extremely important aspect of bullying, but there is often, I would say, more to bullying than harassment. A prejudiced reaction towards people who belong to a social group, whether it be racial, ethnic, sexual, or religious, is not the only reason why children are bullied. Group membership may in fact be irrelevant. A child may be bullied because somebody wants to dominate him or her; domination is a goal in itself.

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