What is bullying?
Bullying is when a person uses their power to control or harm someone by physically, verbally, visually, or emotionally threatening another person, either directly or indirectly. The intent is to cause harm to the victim while creating a sense of power and satisfaction in the bully. Bullying is abusive since the behavior can affect the victim over a long period of time and can be repetitive.
How are students bullied?
Punching, hitting, pushing, and physical attacks are the first style of bullying that often comes to mind. This may be the easiest type of bullying to notice, due to the outward appearance of the actions and the visible effects on the victim.
But with the advent of cell phones, texting, instant messaging, email, Twitter, and other social media avenues a bully can verbally write anything, take a photo, or record video with the intent to do harm, ridicule, embarrass, tease, or other malicious behavior, that is often invisible to the teacher, administrator or parent. This is a form of visual bullying which is equally destructive.
What do bullies look like?
A bully can look like anyone; it could be a boy or a girl, young or old. It is the behavior that is the identifying factor.
What does food allergies have to do with bullying?
A bully will use someone’s differences to target a person or group of people. This difference might be race, gender, sexual orientation, physical appearance, speech issues, or medical conditions, among many other differences.
Food allergens are one of the many things that a bully can use as a weapon to intimidate or harass a student. Due to the life threatening nature of food allergies, they can be a particular effective weapon. A bully may threaten to touch the student with unsafe foods, threaten to place unsafe food in the allergic student’s meal, taunt or chase the student with food, verbally tease, or just describe harmful intentions.