The most overused word in education is "bullying".
People throw it around way too easily. You can make this accusation with absolutely no proof.
And sadly, the accusation comes with a pre-determined sentence of guilt.
Every accidental bump, look, or comment becomes "bullying".
We are losing the right to not like each other.
If I disagree with you, I’m a bully.
Before you light up my email inbox or the comment section, please read the rest of this blog.
When a parent says their child is being bullied, I always ask them to define bullying for me.
100 out of 100 times they can’t.
What they can do and say, is the situation their child is dealing with is "bullying".
And sometimes they are correct.
Other times they are not.
The definition of bullying is… the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively impose domination over others. The behavior is often repeated and habitual. One essential prerequisite, by the bully or others, of an imbalance of social or physical power. Behaviors used to assert such domination include verbal harassment or threat, physical assualt or coercion, and such acts may be directed repeatedly towards particulat targets.
Bullying is horrific and should never be tolerated.
But claiming "bullying" in every situation that doesn’t go our way is also wrong.
Not every fourth grader who doesn’t get to line up first or play on their friends’ team is being "bullied".
Just because someone takes your seat at the lunch table doesn’t make them a bully.
Rude, yes… but not a bully.
As usual, our society has swung too far in identifying "bullies".
For far too many years, this type of behavior was tolerated.
Then we decided it needed to stop (a little late by the way).
That’s great, but we’ve also went way overboard (as usual).
When someone cuts in front of me on the freeway or takes my parking spot, they might be a bully.
But more likely, they are just a jerk.
And that’s life. I wish it wasn’t, but it is.