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Bullying Lesson Plan for a Bully-Free School

By — Member Contribution
Updated on Jan 25, 2012


Today, 1 in 7 students is either a bully or victim of a bully. In the United States alone, 5 million school aged children in Kindergarten through eight grade have been affected by bullying. As many as 160,000 students may stay home on any given day because they're afraid of being bullied. Bullying behaviors at school also change over time.  Experts have found that direct, physical bullying increases in elementary school, peaks in middle school, and declines in high school. Verbal abuse, on the other hand, remains constant from elementary school through high school. Cyberbullying is also a recent phenomenon brought to us by the digital age. About forty-two percent of children today have been bullied while online. Bullying prevention and school safety tops students’, teachers’, administrators’ and parents’ concerns.

What is bullying? Bullying is when a stronger, more powerful person hurts or frightens a smaller or weaker person on purpose and repeatedly. There are 4 types of bullying we should all be aware of: physical bullying, verbal bullying, emotional bullying, and cyberbullying. Physical bullying involves pushing, shoving, spitting, kicking, stealing, and threatening. Verbal bullying involves mocking, name-calling, taunting, teasing, and verbally threatening. Emotional bullying involves giving dirty looks, excluding people, spreading rumors, and ignoring. Lastly, cyberbullying involves ending inappropriate emails, texts, or pictures, prank calling, texting, emailing, and blogging.

Why is it important to have a Bully-Free School? Bullying is a ‘lose-lose’ situation for both the victim and the bully. Most bullies are children and teens that come from homes where parents provide little emotional support for their children, fail to monitor their activities, or have little involvement in their lives, are at greater risk for engaging in bullying behavior. Researchers have found that 60% of boys who were bullies in middle school had at least one criminal conviction by the age of 24. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, victims of bullying are more likely to suffer physical problems such as common colds and coughs, sore throats, poor appetite, and night waking.

Engaging students to dialogue, be a part of the solution and commit to a Bully-Free School is an important step in bullying prevention. The following bullying lesson plan will increase students’ skills and knowledge to do the following: understand when bullying is happening, respond properly to bullying, and propose actions to become a Bully-Free school.


  • To identify bullying
  • To become aware of how to respond to bullying as an individual and bystander
  • To commit to a bully free school


Materials:  Handouts

Time: 30-45 minutes

1) Class discussion about bullying: Share statistics with class on bullying and definition of bullying. (5 min) HANDOUT

2) Small groups: Have student break into 4 small groups. Each small group will be given a worksheet to complete and will then share their ideas with the rest of the class. (10 – 15 min)

  • Group 1 – What are the 4 different types of bullying?  Define bullying and give examples (Physical, Verbal, Cyberbullying, and Emotional) 
  • Group 2 – How do you know if you are being bullied? 
  • Group 3 – What can you do if you are being bullied? 
  • Group 4 – What rules should there be about bullying? 

As each group shares their answers with the class, others may be added to the list.  (10 – 15 min)

3) Closing: pose 2-3 questions to the group to increase engagement and understanding and summarize the action plan or commitments made by students.

4) Discussion Questions (5-10 min)

  1. What would our school be like if everybody believed the same things/thought the same way/liked the same things?
  2. What would our school be like if everybody was friends and got along?
  3. What can we do to stop bullying at our school?
  4. What messages do movies or television send about bullying?
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