Bullying is:

  • A deliberate attempt to hurt someone
  • A pattern of hurtful behaviour over a period of time
  • When a victim is unable to defend themselves


Rumours, gossip, threats, insults, cruelty, violence

– these are all things that young people shouldn’t have to deal with, but do. We use the term ‘bullying’ to describe this kind of behaviour. Other people might call it ‘harassment,’ ‘abuse,’ ‘meanness’ or ‘drama’.

Whatever you choose to call it, bullying is very harmful
and happens all too often.

Being the target of bullying can be hurtful, scary, and isolating. It can also be upsetting to be a witness to bullying. Even though it’s difficult, remember: you’re not alone, and there are ways you can keep bullying out of your life.


If you want to know something about cyberbullying, here you go!

Watch the following video and quickly jot down some adjectives to express your feelings and emotions while watching it.  You can use your mother tongue should you find yourself at a loss with the right words!

Now look what a student did to defend her friend from being bullied and to raise awereness to the “wounds” words can cause.  Do you find it effective?  Why (not)?  What would your video be like if you were asked to take your stand against bullying?

We read the short story “The Bully” by Ian McEwan (from The Daydreamer).  We saw how blurred the line is between being a bully and becoming a bully.  Some bullied students may resort to the same tacticts of abuse (verbal and physical) used by a bully to defend themselves, but by doing this they turn into bullies themselves, they become what they initially dreaded most and wanted to fight.  There are different steps you can take to stop being bullied and you learnt about them from the many webpages dedicated to them.  I would love you to take a stand against bullying by means of writing a poem and making a video of your own.  What follows are examples of what you could possibly do.  The poem will be an individual piece of work, whereas the video will be a “collective production”! (i.e. you will work in groups).

Let’s start by taking a step at a time.  First thing first, visit this webpage and choose a poem and say why you chose it.  (Copy and paste the poem in your comment space).  My choice is the following; I chose it because it makes it clear where you can bump into bullies (playground, street, etc.), the typical behaviour of a bully (punch, stamp), the reaction of the bullied (slave), and what you should do (stand up).  Finally I liked the similes Chloe divised to refer to your inner strength and your special qualities as a person:

Bullies  by Chloe Winn

Bullies in the playground,

Bullies in the street.

They’ll punch you in the stomach,

They’ll stamp on your feet.

Don’t let them feel BIG,

They’re not the boss of you.

Don’t act like their slave,

Cause they can’t tell you what to do!

Stand up to your fears,

Act the bully back to them.

You’re not the weak, mild, petal,

You’re the big, strong tree stem.

anti bully compressWe saw the words of abuse a bully uses and the way these words hurt.  Look at the following social ad, what are the words the bullies use against their victim?  How did you feel after having watched the video? 

Kaylynn made this poem because she wanted to show how she felt about bullying. Some of her close friends were bullied and she wanted everyone to know what it is like to be bullied. What would you do if one of your best friends were bullied?  Who is the poem addressed to? How do you know? What are the things a bully does Kaylynn  despises? Is there a turning point in the poem? If so? Where?

Words Hurt

You should know, bullying hurts.
It starts with one word, one word you blurt.
Fat, ugly, worthless. These are the words they hear.
Did you know, your their biggest fear?

Day by day you torment them,
it takes so long for their hearts to mend.
All they ask for is one true friend,
but you make them want their lives to end.

Everyday they wake up with regret,
all they want to do is forget.
It’s not just hitting and punching, it’s the words you say,
they hurt so much, they want to fade away.

This is when enough is enough,
they’re sick of playing strong, sick of playing tough.
But they know they can make it through,
you may not have known, but they always knew.

They put on a fake smile and pretend they’re okay,
they believe they can make it all the way.
Of course your words still offend,
but they have been pieced back together again.

Someone leaves the crowd and lends them a hand,
they learn that it’s time to stand.
Their smile is no longer fake,
now they have no reason to ache.

You see, all they ever needed was a friend,
someone to stand by them when the bullying came again.
Now they are free,
the insults barely sting, don’t you see?

The bully is never wanted, unless wanted to leave,
The person you bullied now has no need for long sleeves.
Your work here is done, not that it should of started,
now who’s the one who feels broken hearted?

Bullying gave you power, that they refused to give,
you can’t help but wonder ”what if”.
What if they didn’t get so strong?
What if they were crumbled all along?

What you don’t think of, is what could of been,
what if they pulled the razor to their skin?
What if you pushed them too far,
to where they tied a rope around their collar.

What if they wrote down all the secrets they had to spill,
right before taking an overdose on the pills?
You don’t know what could of been done,
you were doing it all for fun.

You think they’re losers, but they’re stronger than you,
have you seen what they’ve been through?
With your words you gave a black eye,
they are leaving, bully, so say your goodbye.

But one more thing before you go,
did you enjoy my little show?
Remember, words can hurt more than the punch,
Believe me now? Cause this was just a hunch.

Now write your own acrostic poem against bullying.  This is an example of an acrostic poem written by Cara:

Always think about how that person feels

Never be mean

Think before you speak

Imagine you were that person

Bullying must stop!

Unkind people bully

Laugh with someone NOT at someone

Look out for your friends

You’re a bully if you leave someone out

If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all

Never bully

Good friends don’t bully

You can take a stand against bullying also by writing a song or devising a video.  Watch the following anti-bullying PSA Music Video created by students and graduates of Pinellas County Schools:

What would your script for a video against bullying be like?  What soundtrack would you use? Who would your actors be? If you are good at music, what would your lyrics be like?  Think of a possible tune and an effective refrain (=ritornello).

A friend posted the following video on her Facebook page and since it is really something and it can spark your imagination in the shooting of your own video, I sugest you watch it.  What are these young people being bullied for?  Do you identify with any of them? What is the effect of the image at the end of the video? (= the girl crying)  What about the final slogan? What do you think of it? Go to the youtube page (double click on the video) and read the comments to the video.  Why don’t you write one yourself?


The antidote to pain, to any form of evil and thus to bullying is learning to LOVE.  I would like to dedicate this song to you.

Michael Jackson – Hold My Hand Duet ft. Akon

Questa voce è stata pubblicata in Our School Projects. Contrassegna il permalink.


  1. Federica Guaccio scrive:

    A bully is someone who doesn’t care about peaples feeling, but when he realizes…, it’s too late. Sometimes bullies can make you stronger, but I think that all they can do is see you weak, pretending they are strong. Is a bully a person with big problems? I don’y think so, They want to show how much is funny to call names a persen, laughing and laughing intil the victim stops thinking that every thing will be ok. Some victims leave in silence, intil they open their eyes and realize that the bully has problem not you.

    • Cristiana Ziraldo scrive:

      Dear Federica,
      Thanks for being so prompt in your response. You replied before I had actually the time to prepare some more “food for thought” for you and your classmates. Thus have another look at the blog entry against bullying and have fun with the other activities I posted! Obviously we will discuss he “making of the video” in class. At home you can think of a possible video script, slogan, images, songs, etc.
      Bye for now.
      Your teacher of English 🙂

  2. Deborah D'Angelo scrive:

    Bullies are strong outside, but weak inside. They think they’re cool but they don’t know that are only coward. When a person is bullied, should talk with a friend or with an adults, for stop what the victimizer is doing to him/her. Often bullies have disfunctional families or they feel themselves not cool or popular, also became bullies for feel important. I hope that victims became brave and teach a lesson to the bullies. Merry Christmas

    • cristianaziraldo scrive:

      Dear Deborah,
      Thanks for being so prompt in your response. You replied before I had actually the time to prepare some more “food for thought” for you and your classmates. Thus have another look at the blog entry against bullying and have fun with the other activities I posted! Obviously we will discuss the “making of the video” in class. At home you can think of a possible video script, slogan, images, songs, etc.
      Bye for now.
      Your teacher of English 🙂

  3. Giorgia Lena scrive:

    I think a bully looks strong just because he hurts who is weaker than him. Who is bullyed should talk whit an adult or whit a teacher,but maybe sometime for the adults is hard to believe in these person ,because the bully have an ”angel face”; so when is at school the bully hit, kick or call bad name somebody but when he is at home he is like the other guys. Probably that’s the reason why there are a lot of bullyed…

  4. Francesco Colicchia scrive:

    Bullies are people who need to exploit the weaknesses of others to ensure that the weaknesses prorie not come out.
    Usually bullies are just stupid dehli who grade the brain as a grain is rice, otherwise it means that they have problems with their families, and cuesto case should be communicated with the individual concerned and parents to solve the problem.

  5. Alessia Giordano scrive:

    The bully is a person who does not respect the others, he uses the physical and mental strength to destroy his target. I think this is a big problem in our society and I think that this kind of problem is caused by the lack of teaching of values inside the family.I’ m sure that a good school-based prevention is a big help.

  6. MICHAEL scrive:

    I think that one person become a bully because he or she has some problem in his or her family.Theese problem can influence to the kind. In fact the bully is a bully only because he or she express with his or her violence his or her problem. But a bully can be a normal person who has not a problem in his or her family.Some person are bully because want to imitate people who are bigest of he or she.

  7. Chiara Tosi scrive:

    I think bullies are strong outside, but weak inside, they are believe that they are very strong and they hit weak children or teenagers to prove this.
    But this is just a way to convince themselves that they are stronger than others because they have, for example, problems at home or disfuncitonal families and they are really insecures.
    We have to help these young boys/girls, but also we must teach them a lesson.
    I think that victims of bullying can became braves and, like Peter in the story, they will teach bullies that it isn’t necessary hit other people to be respected.

  8. Claudia Lavopa scrive:

    A bully hurts people with words or physically. Usually a bully isn’t a strong person so he hurts people with other bully. Often bullies have disfunctional families so for this reason hurts other people.
    A lot of bullies are usually boys but there are girls too.
    A bully hurts weak and shy people and he calls them with awful name.

  9. Valentina Pozzi scrive:

    A bully is a person who continually does or says things to have power over other people, for example: calling them names, not talking to them, taking or damaging their things and other ways.
    Targets in school, usually are pupils who are considered strange or different, because of their religion, national origin or because of how they look or act.
    Another kind of bullying is cyber bullying.
    Bullying can make young people feel lonely, unhappy and frightened.
    Victims of bullying can become sick, or even die.
    I think it is really important to talk to an adult to stop the actions of the bullies.

  10. Deborah Castoro scrive:

    Bullies are strong outside, but weak inside. They think they’re cool but they don’t know that are only coward. When a person is bullied, should talk with a friend or with an adults, for stop what the victimizer is doing to him/her. Often bullies have disfunctional families or they feel themselves not cool or popular, also became bullies for feel important. I hope that victims became brave and teach a lesson to the bullies. Merry Christams and Happy New Year

  11. Erica Corazza scrive:

    A bully is certainly a weak person. I believe he hasn’t confidence in himself. He needs to show how strong he is, ill treating somebody that is either shy or too good to reach. Should a bully find a strong person, facing him, probably he would give up being nasty because a bully is also a person who fears people.

  12. Laura Manzan scrive:

    A bully is a person who hit and call bad name guys who in her/his (of the bully) opinion are weak. Sometimes the bully has family problems but not always because I think than the bully is a guy with “angels face”. I don’t think than originally the victims are weak but they are make weak because of the bully: he/she fells them alone and without estimate about them-self. In my opinion for defeat the bullied we mustn’t exclude the victim but we must talk with him/her about the troubles with the bully and after talk about this problem with an adult or with a teacher, or we can show at bully than we are fight with a easy gesture like the guy who dyed his hair of red (Anti-Bullying ad video)

  13. Sara Boschin scrive:

    In my opinion the bullies are those people who want to be seen strong, but in reality are weak. Often the bullies have problems (with their familys or themself) and try to download them on other people. The bullies hurts these people calling them with bads name or hurts them physically. To stop the bullyng we have to speak about this with friends or family or teachers. Two things that we mustn’t do are: stay silent and suffer. Because so we hurst ourself and also themself.

    Happy new year!

  14. cristianaziraldo scrive:

    Happy to read your comments late at night and the day before the beginning of the new term at school. Some of you mentioned the fact that most bullies come from disfunctional families. If it is true that some bullies have problems at home, do remember that we cannot generalize. In the short story by McEwan the bully comes from a good family, so…. bullies are present in all social classes and in any kind of family.
    Just a curiosity: how is it possible that D’Angelo’s and Castoro’s answers are identical? Hope you can give me an explanation in class.
    See you tomorrow! 🙂

  15. Derrick Okyere scrive:

    In the first video that Mrs. Ziraldo post in this blog, we can see how friends, or even people that we don’t knew before, can help the victim of a bully without becoming a ourselves or starting to beat someone. When I saw the video I’ve got the proof that bullies are really wimps. When they see that one person is weak, the start to attack him because they know that that person can’t do anything to them. But when the weak person has help from friends or, like I said, from people that the both of them don’t know, the bully become the weak person, trying to escape from that problem that he has caused.
    In the second video, where the teenage girl try to take her stand against bullying, and the third video, where the girl is being hit by the words of the other two peers, I’ve realized that even if people tall other people bad words or it start teasing on him/ her, even for joke, the person can take it really badly. But still, peoples don’t understand that teasing on someone can make them really upset. Maybe is because the victim don’t show that his/her hurt inside. And that is one of the consequences of video like these ones. People should think before they act. It seems easy, but even I sometimes hurt feelings in this way without realizing, but not on purpose of course.
    In the last Video, where the little boy tries to miss school because of the bully problem, I’ve realized that bully can really ruin peoples life. I don’t that I would like missing school because some bad guys want to beat me.
    One of this parts of this video that I’ve really hated it was when the bullied had a good mark in the test and the bully not, and start beating on the bullied. That shows how selfish are some people. I don’t like when people hurts someone for no reason. It a thing that I really can’t stand on.
    But I don’t agree on the last part of this video, when the bullies’ have bad work, or turn in jail, and the bullied is now happy. People growing can understand their mistakes in life and turn in a good person, and people that are already good can turn in bad people.

    The Bully is a vary bad problem in the society. And it is difficult to understand way people become so bad.
    I don’t know how to avoid this problem, but someone must try to do it, starting from parents in the dysfunctional family. With this last sentence I’m not saying that all bullies come from a dysfunctional family, as we saw in the text read in class, but most of them come from this kind of families.

  16. beatrice silvestrin scrive:

    A bully is a person who hurt someone, someone who is psychologically weak, beacuse they don’t be able to face a person who is strong like they, the bully hurt a person who doesn’t react when the bully hurt these people psychologically (use a bad words for call them, or call them with bad nicknames etc) or physically (hurt someone with a punch etc). For me a bully shows a strong personality but inside, is a flimsy person, who don’t understand the hardships that create at a person.

  17. carbonera sofia scrive:

    The bully, in my opinion, is the person who can not express their feelings and fears with words, so importunate the people . I think that, for eliminate these attitudes in some people, we must talk to them .The bully not is a strong person, and to make it appear to the other, he acts badly . The bully for me is a person who must be helped rather than accused .

  18. Anna Borin scrive:

    A bully is a person that hit other people because he thinks that so he becomes the “king”. Sometimes a bully has a dysfunctional family and he vents one’s anger on his schoolmates or is friends. A bully shows that he is strong and impassible, but in the real he is very weak!
    A lots of time a bully has a double face: front of his schoolmates he is mean and he offends other, but when he is front his parents he becomes an angel.
    In my opinion a bully isn’t a bad person.
    If my best friend became a bully I say to him that it is a bad thing and it is useless. To be unkind isn’t good because then everybody hate you!
    We must not be afraid of this person, else they become more strong.
    We must break the code of silence!

  19. Naina Schintee scrive:

    A bully is generally a person who has problem with their family, friends or sometimes with themselves. Bullies discharge themselves hitting or punching the others, obviously weaker than themselves. Usually a bully joins with anothers bullies to be stronger. They don’t hit physically or with bad words the adults or someone stronger than them, because most of the bullies are cowards inside.

  20. cristianaziraldo scrive:

    Dear Derrick, thanks for pointing out that we all happen to hurt people even if we do not really mean to. However, the very fact that we think about this is proof of the fact that the more we think about it the less we will do it again. So thinking and feeling are two great “ingredients”, thanks to them we can put an end to bullying (at least in our class) and we can teach others by example. Your reply is proof of this!
    Beatrice, I think that sometimes bullies know that they hurt people and they hurt them on purpose. There are some people who enjoy hurting others, because they want other people to suffer as much as they do, because they are mad at the world for whatever reason.
    Sofia, I agree with you. Adults should try to understand better the causes of bullying and should try to help bullies understand where they stand. It is not always easy for teachers to do this, since teachers (in Italy) are not helped by anybody to understand this problem. Most principals do not do anything and the Ministry of Education seem to do very little.
    Anna, good point: we all seem to lead double lives, but the one of the bully is of harm both to the victim and the victimiser. Nobody wins in a bullying situation.
    Naina, thanks for your observations too. Bullies are pretty lonely, so this is the reason why they act in group.

  21. Alberto Rocco scrive:

    COWARD and FALSE (because the bullies want to look strong but they absolutely aren’t it) are the first adjectives that I tought when I watched the video Mrs. Ziraldo posted.
    DON’T IGNORE is the first thing to do if we want to stop bullying.
    It’s useless if we say “Stop bullying!” and then we don’t react in front of a bullying case. The guy in the video did the right thing.
    Yes, because the bullies are so false, if we react they won’t know how to react because they choose their victims. Usually they choose persons they know they won’t react.
    If we are brave and we react to the bullying, the bullied will learn the lesson and next times he will do it.
    If the victim don’t want to react, at least he have to sesort to someone the actions of the bully. This is what did the girl in the second video have done. She used a powerful means (Internet) to resort everybody what’s happening to her. She said at the first there was only a person who was teasing her but now there are too much. It happened because the bully feel much strong if they are with other people bullying a person.
    We haven’t to permit other persons to follow the bully. He has to feel lonely but the victim don’t.
    The second video teaches that words are like stones. If you say something to someone, it can hurt him. So we have to pay attention to what we say because the hurts aren’t so simply to cure.
    Probably the bully had a disfunctional family and he recived a lot of bad words. However, it doesn’t justify the bully (as Mrs. Ziraldo always say me).
    Well, bully sometimes is a reactions to things happened in the past of the guy. In this case I think other people have to help him, trying to discuss about his problems in the past.

    Bye guys. See you tomorrow.

  22. cristianaziraldo scrive:

    Dear Alberto,
    I appreciated the comments you posted. As you point out, bullies have their own problems and they should be helped. We discussed about this important approach in class, after having read the short story by Ian McEwan. You cannot run the risk of becoming a bully yourself, so you should not victimize a bully. The important thing is having the means or better the understanding of the steps you should take to defend yourself or another student from being the scapegoat of a bully.
    See you in class my dear boy!

  23. cristianaziraldo scrive:

    The problem of bullying is a widespread all over the world and in Italy too.
    Who is a bully? Generally, a bully is an evil person who hurts his peers and even people younger than him but he never hurts guys that are bigger or older than him because he is a coward, he hides himself behind a false appearence. I think a bully needs help because we can work out the problem of bullying only if we help the bully with his troubles.
    Because if there are no bullies, there is no bullying.


  24. Chiara scrive:

    A bully is someone who hurts weak people with verbal or physical attacks. I think that verbal attacks are the most offensive, because the words affect mainly the heart and the brain, while the fights hit only the body. And the body’s wounds heal quicker than the heart’s wounds. I agree with my classmates Deborah and Giorgia, because I think that the bullies look strong outside but inside they are brittle, vulnerable and insecure, and maybe that is the consequence of a dysfunctional family or personal problems . Having this behavior a bully can only join a school’s exclusive groups of guys and he/she gets the fame for the bad things he/she does. The bullied doesn’t externalize the problems to the adults or to someone because he/she fears they can’t understand him/her . But in my opinion we have to win the fear and we have to manifest the problem to solve it and to ensure a more peaceful life for yourself and for others. But there is the risk that the bullied, for defend himself/herself became a bully; and for me is the reason why bullying will never have end. While I was watching the first video, that Ms Ziraldo posted, I felt really moved, because I understood that to fight the bullying we have to be united and solidarity to protect the weak people of the team. During the second part of the video I think that the bullies gang were really coward, conversely ,in the first part they were cruel and bad toward the kid. This video transmit an important message that all have to follow. I find the second video really piercing and amazing because it shows how strong could be some bullying attacks. I think that it was very effective because it also shows how much help and support was having the girl to her friend, doing these video. If one of my best friends was bulled I’d do the same. The video ”LOSERS” is really clear and effective because it shows the bad reality of bullying cases and you can see the consequences of it, into the tears and the eyes’s expression of the girl in the end of the video. The final slogan is simple, but immediately transmits the strong and the important stand against bullying. I choose the following poem (“I Am Me” by Sheila Tidd ) because it makes clear how a bullied feels after these bullying attacks and which is the symbol of the words that a bully use to hurt the people. But above all, this poem underline that there aren’t different between a bully and a bullied : they are both people that need to be help and understand.

    I Am Me
    by Sheila Tidd
    Harsh words come out of your mouth,
    they fly through the air,
    soar into my mind
    Cutting into my heart and soul!

    Sticks and stones may break my bones,
    But words will never hurt me.
    But they do,
    They really do!

    Cruel gestures come from your body.
    They affect me directly,
    Striking me,
    breaking me down!

    I can pretend it did not happen,
    tattle, and tell a teacher, fight back,
    letting you know it hurt me.
    I think not!

    As you walk past me
    no spoken words, no gestures come from you.
    Only looks, perhaps a glance or two.
    You do not have to say a thing, it is obvious.

    I see you.
    I see your actions.
    I see your gestures.
    I also see your glances.

    I am not stupid.
    I am not as blind as you think.
    I am not hurt by you.
    I won’t let you get to me.

    Because I am me.
    I eat and drink like you.
    I walk and talk like you.
    I am me.

    There is only one difference,
    my outward appearance.
    Yes, I look different,
    but then again so does everyone else.

    I see you.
    I see your actions.
    I see your gestures.
    I also see your glances.

    I am not stupid.
    I am not as blind as you think.
    I am not hurt by you.
    I won’t let you get to me.

    Because you see, you do not see.
    You do not see your actions.
    You do not see your gestures.
    You do not see your glances.

    You are stupid.
    You are blind.
    You are the one hurting
    You cannot stand yourself.

    Turchet Chiara

  25. Anna Reschiotto scrive:

    Victims of bullies need to talk, they should get help. A person who needs to be noticed to make someone else feel bad didn’t understand anything! The idea to become bullies to be “known” or however considered is totally wrong, there are many right ways to be known by others as help someone, when you help instead of hurt it makes a person happy is doing good, and you feel good about yourself. Bullies usually have difficulties of various kinds, but they aren’t to fear much, are people like the Others, who unfortunately don’t know how to “speak” … Are strong externally or in any group, but are so weak, and in my opinion should be helped … However, I don’t want to defend them, even as a child I was a victim of a bully and I know how it feels!!

  26. Cristian Corcimari scrive:

    I think that bullies are person who we need to exclude from the society.These people genrally become bullies because the have problems(or in their family or with their friends or other).They are strong outside but weak inside.They often attak those persons who are more weak.I think we all need to reunite and stop bulliyng.