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Bullying and Cyberbullying

This guide provides information and resources for those concerned with bullying, cyberbullying and how to prevent bullying.


Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication (cell phone, computer, tablet) to bully a person by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.

A stop sign with the words "stop bullying." 

Image credit: Wikipedia Commons

In 2015, about 21 percent of students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year. Of students ages 12–18, about 13 percent reported that they were made fun of, called names, or insulted; 12 percent reported being the subject of rumors; 5 percent reported that they were pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on; and 5 percent reported being excluded from activities on purpose. Additionally, 4 percent of students reported being threatened with harm, 3 percent reported that others tried to make them do things they did not want to do, and 2 percent reported that their property was destroyed by others on purpose.

In 2015, a higher percentage of female than of male students ages 12–18 reported being bullied at school during the school year (23 vs. 19 percent), as well as being the subject of rumors (15 vs. 9 percent). In contrast, a higher percentage of male than of female students reported being threatened with harm (5 vs. 3 percent).

Higher percentages of Black students (25 percent) and White students (22 percent) than of Hispanic students (17 percent) reported being bullied at school in 2015. The percentage of students who reported being made fun of, called names, or insulted was also higher for Black students (17 percent) and White students (14 percent) than for Hispanic students (9 percent). The percentage of students who reported being the subject of rumors was higher for Black students (14 percent), White students (13 percent), and Hispanic students (10 percent) than for Asian students (5 percent).

A higher percentage of students in grade 6 than of students in grades 8 through 12 reported being bullied at school during the school year. In 2015, about 31 percent of 6th-graders reported being bullied at school, compared with 22 percent of 8th-graders, 19 percent of 9th-graders, 21 percent of 10th-graders, 16 percent of 11th-graders, and 15 percent of 12th-graders. In addition, a higher percentage of 7th-graders (25 percent) than of 11th- and 12th-graders reported being bullied at school. The percentage was also higher for 8th- and 10th-graders than for 12th-graders. No measurable differences were observed in the percentage of students who reported being bullied at school by urbanicity or between those in public and private schools.

National Center for Education 

  • Comes home with torn, damaged, or missing pieces of clothing
  • Has unexplained cuts, bruises, and scratches
  • Has few, if any friends, with whom he or she spends time
  • Seems afraid of going to school, walking to and from school, riding the school bus, or taking part in organized activities with peers
  • Takes a long, "illogical" route when walking to or from school
  • Has lost interest in school work or suddenly begins to do poorly in school
  • Appears sad, moody, teary, or depressed when he or she comes home
  • Complains frequently of headaches, stomaches, or other physical ailments
  • Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
  • Experiences a loss of appetite
  • Appears anxious and suffers from low self-esteem

If you are bullied or see bullying, you may feel pretty helpless. But there are things you can do, and you are not alone! Talk to your parents or guardians, or to other trusted adults, such as a teacher or school nurse.

Some people worry that reporting a bully is tattling. The truth is that talking to an adult is the responsible thing to do. And adults may be able to help without the bully knowing how they learned about the problem.

If you are bullied, remember that the person who bullies is wrong — not you! If you see other kids being bullied, they need your help. And you might also be helping the bully, who may have problems that can be worked through with an adult.



Bullying can affect you in many ways. You may lose sleep or feel sick. You may want to skip school. You may even be thinking about suicide. If you are feeling hopeless or helpless or know someone that is, please call the LIFELINE at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).


The Nebraska state laws that pertain to bullying:

  • Nebraska  Revised Statutes §79-267 – Student conduct constituting grounds for long-term suspension, expulsion, or mandatory reassignment; enumerated; alternatives for  truant or tardy students
  • Nebraska  Revised Statutes §79-2,137 – School district; development and adoption of bullying prevention and education policy; review

Nebraska Legislature

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eBooks + Books

Discover eBook collections or find print books/materials through the catalog for each campus:


Suggested Websites

American Library Association
GLBRTR: Speaking out against bullying.

American Psychological Association
Bullying article from the American Psychological Association.

Bully Prevention Guide for Educators

An educators guide to combat bullying and bully prevention.

Cyberbullying & Internet Harassment

Prevent cyberbullying and Internet harassment/

Medline Plus
Bullying article from Medline Plus.

Nebraska Department of Education
Bullying prevention article from the Nebraska Department of Education

See a Bully, Stop a Bully, Make a Difference
Bullying Prevention

Provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.

Stop Bullying Now
Research-based strategies for reducing bullying in schools.

Words have consequences. Know the effects of verbal bullying.


It's an unfortunate truth of the internet: Some online spaces can be full of negative, rude, or downright mean behavior. But what kinds of behaviors qualify as cyberbullying? Help your students learn what is -- and what isn't -- cyberbullying, and give them important tools they'll need to combat the problem.