SALT LAKE CITY – Bullying is aggressive, coercive and rare. It’s that last word that Ben Springer says surprises groups of parents who hear his presentation.
Springer, the school psychologist for the Park City School District, addressed a group of parents at the McGillis School in Salt Lake City.
The word rare doesn’t mean bullying doesn’t happen on a regular basis, according to Springer. Instead it means that bullying is different from teasing, and understanding it as a serious problem with real victims is crucial to addressing it.
The definition of bullying? Springer lists five attributes:
1. It’s aggressive,
2. It’s coercive,
3. It’s repeated,
4. There’s a clear victim rather than a back and forth between equals, and
5. There’s a clear power differential.
The impact in that situation?
“It’s huge. The kids carry around a tremendous weight if that’s what’s happening. It’s daily and days add up to weeks and months and you can imagine what that would do to anybody, not just a kid,” said Springer.