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Rude, Mean, and Bullying Behavior


Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else.

It might look like burping in someone’s face, jumping ahead in line,

bragging about achieving the highest grade, or even throwing a crushed up pile of leaves in someone’s face.

On their own, any of these behaviors could appear as elements of bullying, but when looked at in context, incidents of rudeness are usually spontaneous, unplanned inconsideration, based on thoughtlessness, poor manners, or narcissism, but not meant to actually hurt someone.

What should happen: 

First, either ignore the person and/or tell them they were rude and you don’t appreciate it.

Second, if it happens again tell an adult this person is being rude.

Third, ask an adult to facilitate a meeting between you and the person. It’s important for kids to learn how to mediate concerns amongst themselves and our goal is to model and demonstrate how to appropriately do this. 


Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once (or maybe twice.)


The main distinction between “rude” and “mean” behavior has to do with intention; while rudeness is often unintentional, mean behavior very much aims to hurt or depreciate someone. People are mean to each other when they criticize clothing, appearance, intelligence, coolness, or just about anything else they can find to denigrate. Meanness also sounds like words spoken in anger—impulsive cruelty that is often regretted in short order. Very often, mean behavior is motivated by angry feelings and/or the misguided goal of propping themselves up in comparison to the person they are putting down. Commonly, meanness sounds an awful lot like:

• “Are you seriously wearing that sweater again? Didn’t you just wear it, like, last week? Get a life.”

• “You are so fat/ugly/stupid/gay.”

• “I hate you!”

Make no mistake; mean behaviors can wound deeply and adults can make a huge difference in the lives of young people when they hold kids accountable for being mean. Yet, meanness is different from bullying in important ways that should be understood and differentiated when it comes to intervention.

What should happen:

First, tell the person you do not appreciate their comments.

Second, let an adult know the person is being mean.

Third, ask an adult to facilitate a meeting between you and the person.

Kids need to learn how to appropriately communicate with each other and treat each other with dignity and respect.  Our goal is to model and demonstrate how to do this. 




Intentionally aggressive behavior, repeated over time, that involves an imbalance of power.


Entails three key elements:

  • an intent to harm,
  • a power imbalance, and
  • repeated acts or threats of aggressive behavior.

Kids who bully, say or do something intentionally hurtful to others and they keep doing it, with no sense of regret or remorse—even when targets of bullying show or express their hurt or tell the aggressors to stop.

Bullying may be physical, verbal, relational, or carried out via technology:

• Physical aggression was once the gold standard of bullying—the “sticks and stones” that made adults in charge stand up and take notice. This kind of bullying includes hitting, punching, kicking, spitting, tripping, hair-pulling, slamming a child into a locker, and a range of other behaviors that involve physical aggression.

• Verbal aggression is what our parents used to advise us to “just ignore.” We now know that despite the old adage, words and threats can, indeed, hurt and can even cause profound, lasting harm.

• Relational aggression is a form of bullying in which kids use their friendship—or the threat of taking their friendship away—to hurt someone. Social exclusion, shunning, hazing, and rumor spreading are all forms of this pervasive type of bullying that can be especially beguiling and crushing to kids.

• Cyberbullying is a specific form of bullying that involves technology. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center it is the “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.” Notably, the likelihood of repeated harm is especially high with cyberbullying because electronic messages can be accessed by multiple parties, resulting in repeated exposure and repeated harm. **in most cases of cyberbullying law enforcement involvement should occur. 

What should happen:

First, tell someone who can help you.  You have to communicate the issue for us to help you resolve it.  We will follow WCSD Board Policy 104.  You will fill out the ANTI-BULLYING/HARASSMENT COMPLAINT FORM and these steps will be followed:

Step 1

  • Student(s) will meet with guidance counselor
  • Discussion of possible future steps and consequences
  • Guidance counselor will document the incident and notify the principal
  • Guidance counselor or principal will notify parents
  • Students will be issued consequences ranging from warning to 1 day in-school suspension

Step 2

  • Student(s) will meet with guidance counselor and principal
  • Student(s) and parents will meet with guidance counselor and principal
  • Charges may be filed with the police
  • Students will be issued consequences ranging from detention to 1 day in-school suspension

Step 3

  • Student(s) will meet with principal and juvenile court liaison officer
  • Juvenile court liaison officer will make a referral to the court and charges may be filed with the police
  • Student(s), parents, principal, juvenile court officer will meet and police representative will be invited
  • Students will be issued consequences ranging from 3 days In school Suspension to 10 days Out of School Suspension