Why is verbal bullying not as consistently punished as physical bullying / fighting in schools?

All of us in the USA, and probably the world, heard about the Columbine High School shooting many years ago (I believe that was in 1999).

Immediately afterward, awareness of bullying and its very detrimental psychological effects (imo, moreso than physical bullying) have been brought to light and USA schools cracked down on bullying in all forms immediately after this incident.


But nowadays, that "light" on bullying has faded, and bullying isn't handled by school authority figures (schoolyard proctors/security, teachers, principals) unless physicality (pushing, fist-fighting) is included.

The ironic thing...is verbal bullying is more psychological damaging to someone than physical bullying is.


Meanwhile, verbal bullying is swept under the rug by school authority figures...


...until it festers into physical bullying, or even worse, a psychologically damaged student bringing weapon(s) to school and seriously injuring/killing the students that psychologically tortured him/her for the 35hrs a week he/she is on school grounds.

Everyone has their breaking point in anything.


My question to all of you is: why do you think that verbal bullying is so commonly "brushed off" by administration?

Do you think that school administration should take on more responsibility to combat verbal bullying, or do you think that administration should "back off" and ignore verbal bullying?


Share your thoughts and experiences with bullying (either as the "bully" or the "bullied") while in public school.

Please be respectful of other people's views.

  • Schools should take on more responsibility to punish students for verbal bullying
    84% (62)82% (36)83% (98)Vote
  • No, administration should "stay out of the way" when it comes to bullying unless it's physical bullying
    16% (12)18% (8)17% (20)Vote
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Most Helpful Girl

  • For nearly half a school year, my younger sister was verbally abused by a girl who accused her of stealing her boyfriend. The girl called my sister a slut, whore, etc. and basically spread the rumor that my little sister slept around and stole her boyfriend by throwing herself at him and having sex with him. None of which my sister did.

    My sister has been verbally bullied before. She's a 4'11" ginger covered in freckles in high school, who likes poetry and video games rather than shopping or sports and dresses a little on the "scene" side. She has a relatively rough time making friends as it is, and the girl did a lot of damage that year.

    It got to the point where my sister decided to just ignore the girl. This pissed the bully off, and she began threatened my little sister, telling her and her friends that she was going to beat her, hurt her, and even at one point, kill her. I convinced my sister to go to the principal about it (she only consented to go if I went with her), and once we explained the situation to the principal and SRO, I was absolutely appalled at the way they handled it.

    "Well, can't do anything about it unless you have proof" was what they said. We tried at least four different times to bring the attention to their eyes, and every time, we were turned away.

    A month later, the girl found my sister in the halls during class, pulled her to the ground by her hair, and started punching her in the back of the neck and head. My sister was shaken, but thankfully not too badly injured, even though the girl managed to bend her glasses out of place so they now sit unevenly on her face.

    My mother and I were quite livid.

    It usually does have to get to physical violence for the schools to step in and do something, and it's absolutely ridiculous. It took my sister being absolutely humiliated (the girl was screaming at her while she hit her, so tons of students got up to look out the doors and saw) in order for the girl to be removed from the school permanently.

    I think the reason why principals brush it off so often is because it's too much of a hassle, and the students being bullied are the shy, meek ones who don't have much of a voice. It needs to change. And soon.

    • I would seriously kick the ass of ANYONE who did that to my family or friends. If not give them a serious talking to meaning they will never try that crap again. I can be pretty intimidating.

    • I haven't seen the girl since, but you can bet I'll be scaring the piss out of her (I can't touch her; she's underage). Trust me, I can be scary as hell when it comes to my family, especially my little sister.

What Girls Said 23

  • Harder to prove. Unless it was said in front of a lot of people, and those people are willing to corroborate that claim, it often is seen as he said she said

  • Verbal bullying can be harder to monitor. People are less likely to realize that what is being done to them is actually bullying, and authority figures are less likely to be aware that it's happening because it doesn't draw quite as much attention. But I definitely think people need to work harder to prevent it, and actually I think a lot of schools are taking steps in the right direction.

  • Well, I'm definitely quailfied to answer this question. This is a topic, I'm very

    senstive about and probably won't be able to make it though it, with out crying,

    I'll try.

    First, I was bullied, but not in a public school. It was a Catholic school.

    Second, though I imagine it is hard to prove verbal bullying, they should still

    at least try. But, you know why they don't, it's really simple I can break it down.

    A) People are lazy, and don't want to have to try or do more then they're hired for.

    B) People don't give a flying fig, about anybody but themselves. It's all about

    numero uno. So, nobody really cares if someone is being bullied or not.

    C) Even if they could prove it, money talks. I know this,because there was

    incident and it's the one and only time I told. So,long story short, I go to

    school the next day and the teacher takes me out in the hall to talk.

    And, gives me this grand speech , but one thing she said that always sticks

    in my mind is quote "They would never do that, their parents pay good money

    to the school." Another words, even if they could prove the bullying, there'd

    be some rich parent donating money to the school in attempt to sweep it

    under the rug.

    So, though one day, I hope they find a way to punish bullies and make it stick,

    until then, it's just gonna be one of those things that runs ramped and people

    making excuses for why that can't or won't try and stop it.

    By the way, my bullying was all verbal, but I still fight everyday to overcome it. I'm

    better then I was,but I still have aways to go. It will always be with me though and

    it's questions like this that make it come back to the suface, but I think that's a

    good thing. Because in this superficial, materalistic, money hungary, sex crazed

    world, it keeps me humble and real.

    Sorry, my answer is all over the place, I hope you can make sense of it.

  • In the big picture, I actually agree with handsomejackk. But I do think that, if we're not going to have massive educational reform, yes, schools need to do a better job at combating all bullying.

  • Verbal bullying is harder to pinpoint. It is ALWAYS wrong to hit someone... but verbal bullying is more cleverly disguised. Girls can bully other girls by saying, "I LOVE that dress! Is it a size ten?" No clear mockery, sounds like an innocent question, but the two girls involved know that it is bullying, implying that the girl in the dress is fat.

    Also, without physical documentation, how do you really know who's bullying whom? How do you know that Frances is really bullying Kara? Maybe Kara misunderstood. Maybe Kara is pretending that Frances bullied her as a means of bullying Frances back.

    Verbal abuse is also more common. Only one child will strike another, usually. Fights rarely include entire classes. But kids will all join in on bullying one child, and then what? Do you punish the entire class? How do you know it's going on if the entire class is on it, or how do you know the extent?

    How do you propose the school combats verbal abuse? First you have to define verbal abuse. Is "Sally said my skirt is ugly" verbal abuse? Because in girl world, that can really torture someone. Tell her her clothes are ugly every day and I guarantee she will stop coming to school. But how do you punish someone for an allegedly innocent comment like that?

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What Guys Said 18

  • -verbal bullying is difficult to detect.

    - any normal person can defend himself against it : those who can't should learn it asap before they get into professional life.

  • Verbal bullying is just less apparent.

    This is also why men are viewed as the more abusive gender, even though we have stats like, 57 of all child abuse is committed by a women. Because most of the time female abuse isn't physical. It's emotional and mental.

    Simply put, people traditional view bulling and abuse as being something physical, so like rape, we don't consider it to be bullying/abuse unless it was by physical means.

  • I was bullied growing up and it is nasty. If I didn't have an older sister who looked out for me then, I would have really turned out differently I think. I was verbally bullied in school and physically on the playgrounds at home. My older sister would beat up the boys hitting me and challenge the boys at school to try it again.

    I guess I was one of the lucky kids growing up having a family member standing up for me, when I couldn't.

    I detest bullying so much, I personally see it as a crime and should be punished as a form of molestation.

    In Highschool I stood up for those who also got bullied and even got targeted, but I wasn't the innocent and soft spoken kid anymore like I was in elementary school, so it never succeeded them to make me a victim. I still get thank you's by the guys I stood up for in high school.

    I think that the kids that know better should bundle and take those bullies head on and pressure them to stop and not make it possible for them to bully any person and take the fun out of it. You'll feel the pressure of your own peers more then those of an adult, unless you can scare the bully with police and have him arrested and locked up for a day, this might not work if the bully is a regular juvenile delinquent.

  • It's harder to prove for one thing. Plus different people have different sensitivity levels depending on their personalities and background. What is offensive and hurtful to some people is harmless to others.

  • Any form of bullying should not be tolerated. The person being bullied still suffers even if it is not physical in nature. People don't seem to realize that someone can have emotional scars and those can take a long time to heal

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