By TYLER MASK
When one first considers the term bully, iconic characters such as Biff Tannen from Back to the Future, or Scut Farkus from A Christmas Story may first come to mind.
As funny as these bully stereotypes may seem, the reality is that bullies really do exist and really do harm people, be it emotionally or physically.
One of the areas where bullying may be most prevalent is in our school system. Beyond just the halls and dark corners of schools where kids have notoriously picked fights from what seems like the beginning of time, bullying has gained a whole new edge with the introduction of the internet and social media. And Mineral Wells ISD is no exception to this rule.
According to MWISD, bullying occurs when a student or groups of students engage in written or verbal expression or physical conduct that:
1) Will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student’s property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student’s person or of damage to the student’s property.
2) Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening or abusive educational environment for a student.
Acts of bullying per MWISD include:
• Hitting, kicking, shoving, spitting, hair pulling, or throwing something.
• Getting another person to hit or harm the student.
• Teasing, name-calling, making critical remarks, or threatening, in person or by other means.
• Demeaning and making the victim of pokes.
• Making rude and/or threatening gestures.
• Excluding or rejecting the student.
• Intimidating (bullying), extorting, or exploiting.
• Spreading harmful rumors or gossip.
“The term bullying became popular four or five years ago,” MWISD high school Counselor Cortney Trammell said. “I truly believe bullying has occurred since school [began]. ‘It was just a right of passage,’ is what our parents and grandparents thought.