Guide for Teachers Main Causes of Bullying in School
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May 24, 2021
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Juliya Smith

Ultimate Guide for Teachers: Main Causes of Bullying in School

Bullying is aggressive behavior. It is often repetitive in nature. It is done intentionally to cause harm to others. Bullying is mostly systematic. It causes a long term effect of bullying on the minds of the victim. Bullying can occur everywhere. They are seen at work, school or home.

Sadly, bullying is common in schools. 1 in 3 children are bullied at school and 1 in 10 children have reported that bullying has lasted for more than 6 months.

Causes of Bullying in School-image1

Bullying can be a severe traumatic experience for children. Bullied children often feel threatened and scared. They can suffer from long and short term effects of bullying.

Some of the effects of bullying on children are:

  • Difficulty in socializing
  • Lower academic performance
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Lower self-confidence
  • Difficulty in finding long term relationships
  • Mental health issues- Depression or anxiety
  • Body image issues
  • Eating disorders
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Hence, bullying is a seriously scarring experience. It especially affects young children, who are extremely vulnerable.

Therefore, teachers in schools must lookout for warning signs of bullying. You should recognize the different types of bullying that can take place in your class. You should take measures to stop bullying. Bullying prevention also refers to recognizing why a student would bully others.

So we have prepared a guide for you teachers, to recognize the type of bullying and to know why the bullying is occurring. Preventing bullying is an important task for teachers as they will be able to save a child’s life.

Types of bullying

Bullying can happen in different forms. They might take a different shape with the growth of digital media. In most cases of teen bullying both the bully and the victim suffer.

You can recognize the different forms of bullying if you recognize the types. Bullying can take place in three different ways. Students might experience bullying directly, indirectly or through a digital medium. Here’s a quick detail about these three types of bullying:

Direct Bullying

Direct bullying means bullying that is done directly to the bullied victim. It can be bullying that takes place right in front of the victim. Direct bullying can take place through physical abuse. It also includes verbal abuse.

Direct bullying can also include physically hurting another student. They might also take form in physically destroying the possession of another student. This will also include verbal abuse of passing mean comments. This also includes calling someone using foul language while assaulting someone.

Some of the examples of direct bullying are:

  • Physical assault
  • Physical or verbal aggression
  • Making threats
  • Name-calling
  • Persistent humiliation
  • Persistent teasing
  • Passing sexual comment

Indirect Bullying

Indirect bullying refers to bullying someone behind their backs. The victim may or may not be aware of this form of indirect bullying.

This bullying is done by an intent to harm the image of the victim. The bully may not want to reveal their identity while bullying. This includes verbal abuse behind the backs of the student being bullied. It is done to change the depiction of the victim to something that they may not be. This may also cause humiliation to humiliate the student being bullied.

Some of the examples of the indirect type of bullying are as follows:

  • Spreading false information
  • Spreading rumours
  • Spreading secretive information
  • Purposefully excluding them from a group
  • Purposefully not inviting them to group events
  • Vandalizing their possessions behind their backs
  • Writing inappropriate comments on their possessions

Cyber Bullying

Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that is done online. This is done through a digital medium. It is a new form of bullying that teachers need to be aware of. Teachers can help victims of online bullying.

Cyberbullying can take place from social media applications like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, or messaging applications like SMS, MMS, Whatsapp, Viber, and many more. They can be more humiliating for the bullied student.

Cyberbullying has been growing in recent years because it also provides anonymity to the bully.

Some examples of cyberbullying are as follows:

  • Sending mean or offensive messages
  • Posting mean or offensive contents on social media
  • Posting or spreading intimate photos or videos without consent
  • Posting about rumours
  • Cyberstalking
  • Aggressive trolling
  • Excluding from group chats or groups on social media sites
  • Sending or spreading hateful messages

Causes of bullying

The causes of bullying vary from a bully to another bully. The bully might bully another student for many reasons. This is why teachers should be aware of what is going in their class.


You should lookout for some of these causes and prevent bullying in children. If you are aware of the causes of bullying and the warning signs, you will be able to stop bullying from happening.

Some of the most common causes of bullying in students are as follows:


Prejudice is one of the most common causes of bullying seen in schools. Children tend to bully other students who are different from them. This difference may be a difference of race, religion, appearance, weight, sexual orientation or social status.

Children can be prejudiced by their parents, guardians or community for someone who is not like them. In 2016, National Education Statistics of the USA reported that 27% of African American, 33% of Caucasian and 9% of Asian were bullied in school.

Children who belong to the LGBTQ+ have also been facing a lot of bullying in school. They are often called names. They are degraded by calling names and face a lot of physical abuse too.

Similarly, teachers also need to look out for children who belong to a different religion or social status as they are also mostly bullied or excluded by children.

Children have also faced abuse based on their appearance. They might face bullying based on their skin colour, hair type, weight or facial or body feature.

You need to take these things into account while you are teaching a class or around the school.

Low self-esteem

Children also tend to bully others because they have low self-esteem. This may be because they feel a sense of accomplishments after bullying other students.

This bullying behavior may also be because they are projecting their low self-esteem on others. They might tease or pick on someone about they are insecure about themselves. Children are who secretly queer also tend to pick on children of the LGBTQ+ community. They are projecting their own fears on others.

Another reason for this also might be because they are jealous or envious. A student can be jealous of the good grades of their fellow classmates. They might pick on them by calling a “nerd”. They might tease the other children for something that they wish they had but cannot. This includes grades, attention, appearance or wealth.

These feelings of your student might be channeled as anger or aggression towards other students. This might result in bullying.

Lack of empathy

Children might also lack a sense of empathy so they might bully others. They might lack the compassion that people feel for each other.

This may be caused by some mental health issues or due to some other reasons. Children might have low empathy to feel the pain of harm they are inflicting on someone they are bullying.

They might take the harm of physically bullying as if they are causing as fun or they might not be aware of the harm they are causing. They might not care about the pain they are inflicting. They might be unaware of feelings of compassion or empathy.

A higher sense of self

Children with high self-confidence also tend to bully other children. They regard themselves in higher regards than their other peers. They tend to regard themselves as superior to other people.

This higher sense of self can numb them to the suffering of others. They might inflict damage on other people because they think that they are not held to the standards of punishments.

They might also harm other people when they are questioned about their higher sense of being. They tend to lash out and bully when other people make them realize that they are inferior. They feel threatened when they are made to feel as if they are normal like others.

These children need the feeling of them being invincible. They feel threatened when people challenge the status they feel that they have. They bully anyone who questions the status they have perceived to have.

Facing abuse

Children who are facing abuse from other places also tend to bully others. Bullying breeds bullying. A child who is facing physical, mental or emotional abuse at home also tends to be a bully.

They tend to put their frustration of being abused at home by bullying others. Children also may think that bullying provides them with authority. They may bully other students trying to make them feel superior because they are or may have been in a vulnerable place themselves.

They might be physically bullying others to assert their dominance. They might do this because they do not want to feel like a victim again at school.

Children who have been bullied in the past are also more likely to bully others. They believe that bullying is the only way they can feel powerful rather than feeling vulnerable.

Peer pressure

Children might also face peer pressure to bully others. They might show bullying behaviors to others so they might not get bullied themselves. Their friends might push them to bully someone else.

When a large group of a child’s friends is in favor of bullying, they might hesitate to stand against it. They might think that if they stand against it, that they might lose their friends. They might be scared that they will be bullied instead.

So children might give in to peer pressure and bully others.

Attention seeking

If children do not receive as much attention as they desire, they might start doing activities to seek attention. They might be aggressive and bully others.

They desire attention whether it is good or bad. They will derive this attention by harming others. They feel the punishment or attention from bystanders they receive is fulfilling.

Children might show tendencies of attention-seeking behavior if their parents or guardians are not fulfilling their need for attention. They might also be seeking attention from someone they admire like their partner, crush, fellow classmate, or teacher.


Teachers need to understand the causes of bullying so that they can talk about dealing with predators. Teachers would be better able to tackle bullying in the classroom if they know why students harass one another. Bullying can be caused by a variety of factors, including sexual orientation, religion, appearance, ethnicity, and social status. some students intimidate others in order to appear confident and courageous enough to hurt others. Because of their rage and despair, students who have experienced violence and neglect at home can bully others at school. Some students who have a higher level of self-confidence bully other students because they lack empathy and consideration towards others and can react aggressively when they feel threatened.

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Juliya Smith

Hello, I am Juliya a mother of 2 children and a content editor at where I share parenting tips and guides on how to keep your child safe online.