Dealing with Bullying in Schools: A Training Manual for Teachers, Parents and other Professionals


Mona O'Moore & Stephen James Minton

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    The authors would like to acknowledge the support and continued good work of our colleagues at the Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, Trinity College Dublin: Lian McGuire, Murray Smith, Dennis Blair, Karen Cahill, Anne Frey, Stephanie Loughman and Jean Lynch.

    Mona O'Moore would like to thank in particular the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. It was their initial generous financial support together with that of the Department of Education and Science (Ireland) and the Arts and Social Science Benefaction Fund (Trinity College Dublin) which made it possible to conduct the nationwide study of bullying behaviour in Ireland and subsequently to pilot a national anti-bullying programme in Donegal. Both these studies have pointed to the need for this more practical comprehensive guidebook. This is not to take away from the depth of understanding that has been reached as a result of the many individuals, both adults and children, who through their courage and convictions have shared their experiences of victimization and bullying with me and the members of the Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Trinity College. I am also indebted to my husband Rory, and sons Garret, Olaf and Runar who have also contributed to shaping my understanding of bullying behaviour in both schools and workplaces by discussing their own observations and experiences.

    Following the initial support of the above funding bodies, the authors would also like to thank the Irish Research Council for the Humanities and Social Sciences (IRCHSS) for their help to undertake on a national scale an anti-bullying programme in schools in Ireland. It is their generous support that has enabled the authors to develop this book which hopefully will contribute worldwide to a much needed reduction of bullying in school communities.

    Stephen James Minton would also like to thank the following family members for their help and support over the years: my wife, Patricia Minton; my mother, Rosemary Elizabeth Fox; and also, for being a constant source of inspiration and joy, my baby daughter, Anna Rebecca Minton. On a professional level, my former project manager on the ‘Pathways Through Education’ project at the Dublin Institute of Technology, Dr Tommy Cooke, and the principals of the schools involved in that project – Michael Blanchfield and Sr Frances Murphy – deserve a special mention; all three, as well as Peter McCarney, were extremely helpful and encouraging during the years that I spent working on that project. I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to my former supervisor, Maureen Carmody, and to my friend Dr Lennart Karlsson.

  • A Final Word

    At this point, what remains to say? Simply this – we want school communities to be free of bullying behaviour. As professionals within the field of education, and as members of school communities, this would be the optimal outcome, and what we feel could be the most solid contribution that we can make towards a society that is similarly free of physical and psychological violence.

    Is this just a pipe dream? Hopefully not. As human beings, we are responsible for the society in which we live. We cannot say that we are ‘not involved’ or that it is ‘nothing to do with us’. Human beings are capable of choices.

    This is why we felt that adults in all possible bullying situations must intervene. If we fail to do so, then we must think about whom we are failing. As well as this failing in our duty of care to our young people, we should also think about what else has been lost on a broader scale when we fail to intervene in situations of bullying behaviour.

    Many parents and those who work with young people in educational settings are concerned as to the effect that the media has on young people's attitudes and behaviour. Do violent films cause violent behaviour? Young people are certainly more exposed to anti-social, pro-violence messages from films, television, books and magazines, computer games and the Internet than ever before, and this increasing exposure unfortunately looks set to continue.

    As Nelson Mandela said in his Foreword to the World Report on Violence and Health (World Health Organisation, 2002), ‘We owe it to our children – the most vulnerable citizens in society – a life free from violence and fear’. In order to achieve this everyone must, as Mandela said, ‘be tireless in our efforts’ to attain a non-violent society. So what better place to start than in the school and home?

    If this book has provided some ideas for concrete ways in which members of school communities can, in collaboration, intervene against bullying and aggressive behaviour in schools, then we will have succeeded in our aims.

    In different parts of the book, we have encouraged readers to contact us, should they have some additional insight into the issues that we describe, or perhaps have experiences or knowledge that may serve to illuminate and address weaknesses in the text. This is not a mere pretence at academic humility, but rather a genuine request. The authors of this book, and the team with which they work, may be contacted via the following details:

    The Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre

    Department of Education

    Trinity College Dublin

    Republic of Ireland

    Tel/Fax: + 353 1 608 2573

    This is the end of our book on practical anti-bullying work. But in reality, all that has been achieved is the marking off of territory and the discussion of tactics for another fresh beginning in this work.

    MonaO’ MooreStephen JamesMintonDublin, 2004

    Photocopiable Resources

    All these photocopiable resources are available to download from the PCP website:

    Appendix A: Resources for Talks/Training with School Management Staff

    Appendix B: Resources for Talks/Training with Classroom Staff

    Appendix C: Resources for Talks with Parents

    Appendix D: Resources for General Talks with Students


    1 Amongst other places, documented in Olweus, D. (1993) Bullying: What We Know and What We Can Do. Oxford: Blackwell.

    2 O'Moore, A.M., Kirkham, C. and Smith, M. (1997) ‘Bullying behaviour in Irish schools: a nationwide study’, Irish Journal of Psychology, 18 (2): 141–69.

    3 Smith, P.K. (1997) ‘Bullying in schools: the UK experience and the Sheffield anti-bullying project’, Irish Journal of Psychology, 18 (2): 191–201.

    4 Mellor, A. (1990). Spotlight 23: Bullying in Scottish Secondary Schools. Edinburgh: Scottish Council for Research in Education.

    5 Rigby, K. and Slee, P.T. (1999) ‘Australia’ in P.K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. Junger-Tas, D. Olweus, R. Catalano and P. Slee (eds), The Nature of School Bullying: A Cross-National Perspective. London: Routledge.

    6 Marr, N. and Field, T. (2001) Bullycide: Death at Playtime. Oxford: Success Unlimited.

    1 In Olweus, D. 1991 ‘Bully/victim problems among school children: basic facts and effects of a school based intervention program’, in D. Pepler and K. Rubin (eds), The Development and Treatment of Childhood Aggression. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. p. 413.

    2 Smith, P.K. and Sharp, S. (eds) (1998) School Bullying: Insights and Perspectives. London: Routledge. p. 2.

    3 An acknowledged adoption of a Scandinavian definition (Roland, 1989), used in a study by Andrew Mellor (1990); cited in Mellor, A. (1999), in P.K. Smith et al. (eds), The Nature of School Bullying: A Cross-National Perspective. London: Routledge. pp. 93–4.

    4 From the Depatment of Education (1993) Guidelines on Countering Bullying Behaviour in Primary and Post-primary Schools. Dublin: The Stationery Office.

    5 In Smith, P.K. and Thompson, D. (1991) Practical Approaches to Bullying. London: David Fulton.

    6 This has been found to be the case in large-scale studies (for example, in Norway, Sweden, England, Scotland and the Republic of Ireland) of bullying behaviour in schools. See Smith, P.K. et al. (eds) (1999) The Nature of School Bullying: A Cross-National Perspective. London: Routledge Smith, P.K. (ed.) (2003) Violence in Schools: The Response in Europe. London: Routledge-Falmer for overviews.

    7 The interested reader is recommended to refer to Robinson, G. and Maines, B. (1997) Crying for Help: the No Blame Approach to Bullying. Bristol: Lucky Duck.

    8 See O'Moore, A.M. and Minton, S.J. (2003) ‘The hidden voice of bullying’ in M. Shevlin and R. Rose (eds), Encouraging Voices: Respecting the Insights of Young People Who Have Been Marginalised. Dublin: National Disability Authority

    9 See Pikas, A. (1975) ‘Treatment of mobbing in school: principles for and the results of the work of an anti-mobbing group’, Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 19: 1–12. Chapter 4

    1 For example, Whitney and Smith's 1993 study in Sheffield, England – see Smith, P.K. and Sharp, S. (eds) (1994) School Bullying: Insights and Perspectives. London: Routledge; O'Moore's nationwide survey in the Republic of Ireland – see O'Moore, A.M., Kirkham, C. and Smith, M. (1997) ‘Bullying behaviour in Irish schools: a nationwide study’, Irish Journal of Psychology, 18 (2): 141–69.

    2 Ibid.

    3 Quoted in Sullivan, K. (1999) ‘Aotearoa/New Zealand’, in P.K. Smith, Y. Morita, J. Junger-Tas, D. Olweus, R. and Catalano and P. Slee (eds), The Nature of School Bullying: A Cross-National Perspective. London: Routledge.

    4 Findings drawn from O'Moore, A.M. and Kirkham, C. (2001) ‘Self-esteem and its relationship to bullying behaviour’, Aggressive Behaviour, 27: 269–83.

    5 Ibid.

    Useful Resources

    The following comprises a list of resources (books, Internet, resource packs and videos) that we believe might be helpful in anti-bullying work in schools.

    Textbooks and Resource Books for School Staff, Parents and other Adults in the School Community
    Asher, S.R. and Coie, J.D. (1992) Peer Rejection in Childhood. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
    Beane, A.L. (1999) Bully Free Classroom: Over 100 Tips and Strategies for Teachers. Minneapolis: Free Spirit.
    Besag, V.E. (1994) Bullies and Victims in Schools. Buckingham: Open University Press.
    Blagg, N. (1990) School Phobia and its Treatment. London: Routledge.
    Blatchford, P. (1993) Playtime in the Primary School. London: Routledge.
    Byrne, B. (1993) Coping with Bullying in Schools. Dublin: Columba Press.
    Byrne, B. (1996) Bullying: A Community Approach. Dublin: Columba Press.
    Cattanach, A. (1995) Play Therapy with Abused Children. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    Cowie, H. and Wallace, P. (2000) Peer Support in Action: From Bystanders to Standing By. London: Sage Publications.
    Dore, S. (2000) Bullying. NSPCC: Egmont World.
    Elliot, M. (1994) Keeping Safe: A Practical Guide to Talking with Children. London: Coronet Books.
    Elliot, M. (1996) 501 Ways to be a Good Parent. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
    Elliot, M. (1997) 101 Ways to Deal with Bullying: A Guide for Parents. London: Hodder & Stoughton.
    Elliot, M. and Shenton, G. (1999) Bully-free: Activities to Promote Confidence and Friendship. London: Kidscape.
    Fried, S. and Fried, P. (1996) Bullies and Victims. New York: M. Evans.
    Fried, S. and Fried, P. (2003) Bullies, Targets and Witnesses. New York: M. Evans.
    Frude, N. and Gault, H. (1984) Disruptive Behaviour in Schools. New York: John Wiley.
    Humphreys, T. (1993) Self-Esteem: The Key to Your Child's Education. Leadington, Co. Cork: T. Humphreys.
    Johnston, J. (1996) Dealing with Bullying. New York: Rosen.
    Jones, N. and Jones, E.B. (1992) Learning to Behave. London: Kogan Page.
    La Fontaine, J. (1991) Bullying: A Child's View. London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
    Lane, D.A. (1990) The Impossible Child. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.
    Lee, C. (2004) Preventing Bullying in Schools. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Marr, N. and Field, T. (2001) Bullycide: Death at Playtime. Oxford: Success Unlimited.
    McMahon, A. and Bolam, R. (1990a) A Handbook for Primary Schools. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    McMahon, A. and Bolam, R (1990b). A Handbook for Secondary Schools. London: Paul Chapman Publishing.
    Murray, M. and Keane, C. (1998) The ABC of Bullying. Dublin: Mercier Press.
    Needle, J. (2000) The Bully. London: Collins Educational. (This is a play.)
    Newman, D.A., Horne, A.M. and Bartolomucci, C.L. (2000) Bully Busters: A Teacher's Manual for Helping Bullies, Victims and Bystanders. Champaign ILL: Research Press.
    Nicholas, F.M. (1992) Coping With Conflict: A Resource Book for the Middle School Years. Wisbech: Learning Development Aids.
    Pearce, J. (1989) Fighting, Teasing and Bullying. Wellingborough: Thorsons.
    Report of the Gulbenkian Foundation. (1995) Children and Violence. London: Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
    Rigby, K. (1996) Bullying in Schools and What to Do about It. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    Rigby, K. (2002) New Perspectives on Bullying. London: Jessica Kingsley.
    Robinson, G. and Maines, B. (1997) Crying for Help: The No Blame Approach to Bullying. Bristol: Lucky Duck.
    Robinson, G., Sleigh, J. and Maines, B. (1995) No Bullying Starts Today. Bristol: Lucky Duck.
    Romain, T. (1997) Bullies are a Pain in the Brain. Minneapolis: Free Spirit.
    Ross, C. and Ryan, A. (1990) Can I Stay in Today, Miss?Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.
    Scherer, M., Gersch, I. and Fry, L. (1992) Meeting Disruptive Behaviour. London: Routledge.
    Smith, P.K. (ed.) (2003) Violence in Schools: The Response in Europe. London: Routledge-Falmer.
    Smith, P.K., Morita, Y., Junger-Tas, J., Olweus, D., Catalano, R. and Slee, P. (eds) (1999) The Nature of School Bullying: A Cross-National Perspective. London: Routledge.
    Smith, P.K. and Sharp, S. (eds) (1998) School Bullying: Insights and Perspectives. London: Routledge.
    Smith, P.K. and Thompson, D. (1991) Practical Approaches to Bullying. London: David Fulton.
    Sullivan, K. (2000) The Anti-Bullying Handbook. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Tattum, D. and Lane, D. (eds) (1989) Bullying in School. Stoke-on-Trent: Trentham Books.
    Thomas, P. (2000) Stop Picking On Me: A First Look at Bullying. New York: Barron's Educational Series.
    Varma, V.P. (1991) Truants From Life. London: David Fulton.
    Voors, W. (2000) The Parent's Book About Bullying. Center City, MN: Hazelden.
    Warren, H. (1984) Talking About School. London: London Gay Teenage Group.
    Fiction and Poetry Books for Young People
    Amos, J. (2001) Bully. Bath: Cherrytree Books.
    Atwood, M. (1990) Cat's Eye. London: Virago Press.
    Burley, W.J. (1997) Wycliffe and the Schoolgirls. London: Corgi.
    Burnard, D. (1996) Bullysaurus. London: Hodder Read Alone.
    Byrne, J. (1996) The Bullybuster's Joke Book. London: Red Fox.
    Chambers, A. (1983) The Present Takers. London: Red Fox.
    Coppard, Y. (1991) Bully. London: Red Fox.
    Considine, J. (1993) School Bully. Dublin: Poolbeg Press.
    Cormier, R. (1975) The Chocolate War. London: Fontana Lions.
    Friel, M. (1993) Charlie's Story. Dublin: Poolbeg Press.
    Gibbons, A. (1993) Chicken. London: Orion Children's Books.
    Godden, R. (1991) The Diddakoi. London: Pan Macmillan.
    Golding, W. (1986) Lord of the Flies. London: Macmillan.
    Hill, S. (1981) I'm the King of the Castle. Harlow: Longman Group.
    Hines, B. (1969) A Kestrel for a Knave. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
    Hinton, N. (1988) Buddy. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
    Hinton, N. (1989) Buddy's Song. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
    Hughes, D. (1995) Bully. London: Walker Books.
    Hughes, T. (1994) Tom Brown's Schooldays. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
    Hunt, R. and Brychta, A. (1995) The Bully. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
    Kemp, G. (1979) The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
    Lee, H. (1974) To Kill a Mockingbird. London: Pan Books.
    Lee, L. (1959) Cider with Rosie. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
    Leonard, H. (1979) Home before Night. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
    Masters, A. (1997) Bullies Don't Hurt. London: Puffin Books.
    McGough, R. (1985) Sky in the Pie. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books.
    Meyer, G. and Meyer, M. (1999) Just a Bully. New York: Golden Books.
    Needle, J. (1995) The Bully. London: Puffin Books.
    O'Casey, S. (1963) I Knock at the Door. London: Pan Books.
    Quirk, Y.C. (1990) Bully. London: Bodly Head Children's Books.
    Quirk-Walsh, M. (1993) Searching for a Friend. Dublin: Attic Press.
    Rowling, J.K. (1997) Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. London: Bloomsbury.
    Simon, F. and Church, C.J. (1999) Hugo and the Bully Frogs. London: David and Charles Children's Books.
    Stones, R. (1991) No More Bullying. Essex: Happy Cat Books.
    Townsend, S. (1983) The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 1313/4. London: Methuen.
    Wilson, W. (1988) Nine O'Clock Bell: Poems About School. London: Penguin Books.
    Action Alliance for Children.
    Advisory Centre for Education.
    Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, Trinity College Dublin.
    BBC Education: Bullying – a Survival Guide.
    Bullying in Schools and What to Do about It (Dr Ken Rigby's pages).
    Bullying Online.
    Children's Legal Centre, University of Essex.
    Department for Education and Employment.
    Department for Education and Skills: Don't Suffer in Silence.
    Field Foundation, The.
    Moira Anderson Foundation.
    National Child Protection Helpline.
    Parent Centre, The.
    Scottish Anti-Bullying Network.
    Scottish Council for Research in Education.
    Scottish Executive. Let's Stop Bullying: Advice for Parents and Families.
    Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
    UK Department for Education and Employment (DfEE).
    Resource Packs and Videos for Schools and Parents
    Policy and Awareness-Raising Packs
    Besag, V. (1992) We Don't Have Bullies Here! 57 Manor House Road, Jesmond, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, NE2 2LY.
    Browne, K. (1995) Bully Off: Towards a Whole New Ball Game of Relationships in Schools. First and Best in Education Ltd.
    Foundation for Peace Studies, Aotearoa / New Zealand (1994) Cool Schools Mediation Programme. Auckland: Foundation for Peace Studies.
    Robinson, G., Sleigh, J. and Maines, B. (1995) No Bullying Starts Today: An Awareness Raising Pack. Bristol: Lucky Duck.
    Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum (1992) Speak Up – An Anti-Bullying Resource Pack. Dundee: SCCC.
    Scottish Council for Research in Education (1993) Supporting Schools Against Bullying. Edinburgh: SCRE.
    Slee, P. (1997) The P.E.A.C.E. Pack: Reducing Bullying in our Schools. Adelaide: School of Education, Flinders University.
    Video Packs
    Brown, T. (1993) Broken Toy. Bristol: Lucky Duck.
    Brown, T., Robinson, G. and Maines, B. (1998) But Names Will Never Hurt Me. Bristol: Lucky Duck.
    Department of Education and Employment (2000) Don't Suffer in Silence: An Anti-Bullying Pack for Schools. London: HMSO.
    Robinson, G. and Maines, B. (1992) Stamp Out Bullying. Bristol: Lucky Duck.
    Video Films
    Hands on Bullying. (1998) Tony Jewes Productions.
    The Trouble with Tom. (1991) Central Independent Television Productions.
    Welcome to the Dollhouse. (1995) Produced by Donna Bascom and Todd Solandz. (Feature-length movie: over 15s).
    Bullying in the Workplace: References for School Staff and Others
    Adams, A. and Crawford, N. (1992) Bullying at Work. London: Virago Press.
    Clifton, J. and Serdar, H. (2000) Bully Off: Recognising and Tackling Workplace Bullying. Dorset: Russell House.
    Einarsen, S., Hoel, H., Zapf, D. and Cooper, C.L. (2003) Bullying and Emotional Abuse in the Workplace. International Perspectives in Research and Practise. London: Taylor & Francis.
    Evans, P. (1996) The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognise it and How to Respond. London: Adams.
    Field, T. (1996) Bully in Sight: How to Predict, Resist, Challenge and Combat Workplace Bullying. Oxford: Success Unlimited.
    Kelly, J. (1999) Bully Proof: Handling Harassment at Work. London: Aurora Books.
    Kinchin, D. (1998) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Invisible Injury. Oxford: Success Unlimited.
    Namie, G. and Namie, R. (2000) The Bully at Work. Naperville, ILL: Sourcebooks.
    Randall, P. (1997) Adult Bullying: Perpetrators and Victims. London: Routledge.
    Ryan, K.D. and Oestreich, D.K. (1988) Driving Fear out of the Workplace. San Fransisco: Jossey Bass.
    Sapolsky, R.M. (1998) Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers: An Updated Guide to Stress, Stress-Related Diseases and Coping. New York: Freeman.
    Solomon, M. (1990) Working with Difficult People. London: Prentice Hall.
    Journal Articles and Reports
    Brooks-Gordon, B. (1999) ‘Sexual harassment in the workplace’, Journal of Occupational and Organisational Psychology, 72 (1): 117–19.
    Di Martino, V., Hoel, H. and Cooper, C.L. (2003) ‘Preventing violence and harassment in the workplace’, report for the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions.
    Einarsen, S. (1999) ‘The nature and causes of bullying at work’, International Journal of Manpower, 20, 16–27.
    Hoel, H., Cooper, C.L. and Faragher, B. (2001) ‘The experience of bullying in Great Britain: the impact of organisation status’, European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology, 16: 443–66.
    Leymann, H. (1996) ‘The content and development of mobbing at work’, European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology, 5 (2): 251–75.
    O'Moore, A.M., Seigne, E., McGuire, L. and Smith, M. (1998) ‘Victims of workplace bullying in Ireland’, Irish Journal of Psychology, 19 (2–3): 345–57.
    O'Moore, A.M., Lynch, J. and Nic Daeid, N. (2003) ‘The rates and relative risks of workplace bullying in Ireland, a country of high economic growth’, International Journal of Management and Decision Making, 4 (1): 82–95.
    Raynor, C. and Hoel, H. (1997) ‘A summary review of literature relating to workplace bullying’Journal of Community and Applied Social Psychology, 1: 181–91.;2-Y
    Sheehan, M. and Barker, M. (1998) ‘Bullying at work: an international perspective’, Journal of Occupational Health and Safety, 14 (6): 587–92.
    Zapf, D., Knorz, C. and Kulla, M. (1996) ‘On the relationship between mobbing factors, job content, social work environment and health outcomes’, European Journal of Work and Organisational Psychology, 5 (2): 215–37.

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