School Bullying - New UNESCO Definition 2023 — English

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School Bullying - New UNESCO Definition 2023

School bullying is a damaging social process that is characterized by an imbalance of power driven by social (societal) and institutional norms. It is often repeated and manifests as unwanted interpersonal behaviour among students or school personnel that causes physical, social, and emotional harm to the targeted individuals or groups, and the wider school community."

Why revisit the definition of bullying?


Many current anti-bullying programmes in schools are rooted in early definitions characterizing bullying as an “unwanted aggressive behavior that is repeated over time and involves an imbalance of power or strength”. While this was groundbreaking at the time and advanced the work of researchers, policy makers, educators and others, evolving perspectives have deepened our understanding of bullying. (...)

The proposed definition promotes a holistic and inclusion-driven approach to tackling bullying and violence in schools and in online spaces.

Crafting a more inclusive definition has the potential to break down academic and professional barriers, encouraging cooperation between sectors, and among scholars, policymakers, educators, and learners. It provides a solid foundation to better understand bullying particularly regarding those most marginalized due to appearance, ethnicity, gender, social class, or sexuality, among others. Bullying is a complex issue tied to individual, contextual, and structural factors, making collaboration essential.

Together, we can deepen our understanding and address not only the behavior but also the underlying systems and ideologies supporting bullying.

  • Source : UNESCO, World Forum against school bullying,
  • Publication date : October 04 2023