Bullying, Exclusion & Harassment

How is it defined?

Bullying negatively impacts the physical, mental, and educational well-being of students with potentially severe effects (Nansel et al., 2001; Roland, 2002). Exclusion and sexual harassment can both be considered forms of bullying. Exclusion is when students feel excluded or treated unfairly at school because of their ethnic or cultural background, gender, social class, sexual orientation, religion, disability, or another perceived categorical boundary. Sexual harassment is any unwanted or inappropriate language or touching that makes a person feel upset, hurt or angry.

The Learning Bar’s framework on the drivers of student outcomes includes measures of quality instruction, school context, classroom context and family context. School context includes measures of advocacy at school, feeling safe while attending school, and bullying, exclusion, and harassment.

Why is it important?

  • Students quickly learn where the 'hot-spots' are, which tend to be places with inadequate supervision (Craig & Pepler, 1997).
  • Bullying tends to occur most frequently in classrooms, corridors and the lunchroom, but this can vary among schools (Leff, Power, Costigan, & Manz, 2003).
  • Successful anti-bullying interventions depend on effective implementation strategies (Ertesvåg, 2015).
  • Schools can equip students with strategies to deal with bullying, exclusion and sexual harassment (O'Moore, 2000).

How do we measure it?

In Tell Them From Me®, in both the primary and secondary school survey extended bullying modules students are asked additional questions regarding when and where bullying takes place, and how they responded if they were bullied or saw another student being bullied. Students are also asked questions regarding the school measures to prevent bullying, and whether they feel excluded by their peers due to their ethnic or cultural background, gender, social class, religion, disability, or other perceived categorical boundaries. The secondary survey contains additional questions asking students whether they felt unfairly treated by school staff, excluded due to sexual orientation and whether they were sexually harassed at school in the past 4 weeks. Responses to each question are reported in “Further Detail” charts.



Craig, W. M., & Pepler, D. J. (1997). Observations of bullying and victimization in the school yard. Canadian Journal of School Psychology, 13(2), 41-60.

Ertesvåg, S. K. (2015). Improving anti-bullying initiatives: The role of an expanded research agenda. Journal of Educational Change16(3), 349-370.

Leff, S. S., Power, T. J., Costigan, T. E., & Manz, P. H. (2003). Assessing the climate of the playground and lunchroom: Implications for bullying prevention programming. School Psychology Review, 32(3), 418-430.

Nansel, T. R., Overpeck, M., Pilla, R. S., Ruan, W. J., Simons-Morton, B., & Scheidt, P. (2001). Bullying behaviors among US youth: Prevalence and association with psychosocial adjustment. JAMA285(16), 2094-2100.

O'Moore, M. (2000). Critical issues for teacher training to counter bullying and victimisation in Ireland. Aggressive Behaviour, 26(1), 99-111.

Roland, E. (2002). Bullying, depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts. Educational Research44(1), 55-67.