how to stop bullying


Teacher goes viral after sharing signs of 'subtle bullying' she sees in her classroom

These behaviors might be harder to spot, but just as important to stop in their tracks.


Whetehr subtle or over, bullying cannot be tolerated

When we think of bullying, we might first picture wedgies, dunking heads in toilets, stuffing folks in lockers…the kind of stuff you’d see in virtually every kid’s movie in the 90s.

But in real life, bullying can be much more insidious.

Ms. C, a teacher who previously went viral for sharing the high school cliques that have endured the test of time, recently coined a term for this type of behavior, which she called “subtle bullying,” and explained what it might look like in a classroom.

“Here's what it looks like, a student that is less popular, maybe has a disability, will be talking and a kid who is a bully will be looking at all of his friends across the room and snickering and making little faces,” she says in the video.

“I will lose it if I see that,” she continues, saying that while she is “chill” with a lot of things, like cursing, eating in class, student’s addressing her by her first name, even sass to a certain degree, this is her “number one” behavior that will not be tolerated.

To address the issue, Ms. C usually stands “directly by the bully's desk and stares them in the eyes the whole time that other student is talking.” Or she’ll throw them out of the room. The only other time she might do that is if there’s a safety threat. And it seems clear that in her opinion, subtle bullying is a safety threat.

“If you are a teacher and you are not fiercely protecting your most vulnerable students, what are you doing?” she concludes.

@stillateacher basically we’re gonna learn and respect each other #teacher #teachertok #teachersoftiktok #highschoolteacher #teacherlife ♬ original sound - Ms. C

Subtle bullying, according to Ms C, also includes “racism, sexism, homophobia,” which warrants “an intense one-on-one conversation” that hopefully resolves the issue. But if it doesn’t, she gets others involved until the student recognizes the comment was “unacceptable.”

Ms C’s video got a lot of comments from fellow teachers confirming how common this type of bullying is, or anecdotes from folks who were on the receiving end of it.

“The subtle bullying is such an issue. I saw it so much when I subbed,” one person wrote.

Another added, “I’m so glad you can actually spot subtle bullying like that. My teachers would actively tell me it wasn’t happening when I’d try to talk to them about it.”

“Subtle bullying is so bad! We did karaoke in class and had to stop because of popular bullies 'encouraging' and recording,'' one person shared, while another wrote, “Subtle bullying for seven years took me most of a decade to get over. Ruins your self confidence. You are changing lives!”

Subtle bullying might be harder to spot, but it’s every bit as damaging as physical violence or name-calling, and therefore every bit as important to address. In a follow-up video, Ms C. offers a helpful tip for teachers when it comes to spotting this type of behavior.

She suggests giving students a survey where they answer if there’s anyone one they’d rather not sit by (tell them it is completely confidential). If there is a student who has been bullying others, their name will come up repeatedly. Obviously it’s not a foolproof perfect strategy, but it’s a starting point.

The one constant in bullying, whether it’s subtle or overt, is that it’s not acceptable. And it’s the responsibility of the adults in a child’s life—parents, faulty, teachers—to make sure that it doesn’t become a habit that carries over into adulthood.