Editorial: Teasing, A Form of Bullying?
By Jessica Bouyer
When you think of the term “bullying,” images of physical violence, public humiliation and destruction of property flash through our minds. Throughout the years, a new form of bullying has emerged called “teasing.” This came to be a surprise to many people because teasing is thought of as a playful or friendly interaction toward individuals. With repeated exposure teasing can be regarded as harassment or abuse.
People are teased based on their weight, height, age, religious beliefs, political values and so on. According to Brooks Rumenik with the Florida Department of Education’s Office of Safe Schools, there are four levels of bullying in which teasing can be applied. The first is physical bullying. This form of bullying is expressed by hitting, pushing, kicking people and also taking/ damaging someone’s property. For example, a high school student just made the position of linebacker on his football team but none of his fellow teammates want to be near him because he is a freshman. As a part of football tradition they kick and push him during practice. The second type of bullying is reactive bullying. An example of this could be a student who has been repeatedly teased for being overweight, transforms into a bully and taunts other people just like she was. Another form of bullying is called verbal bullying which consists of menacing or threatening words to hurt or humiliate someone. The final form of bullying is relational bullying which is the most manipulative and mostly used by females. This type of bullying excludes an individual from there peers, connections and friends. All of these various types of bullying are applied into teasing which can morph it from a welcoming banter among individuals to a cruel and humiliating encounter among adversaries.
Teasing is in the eye of the beholder. Some people do not see teasing as a problem, while others see it as a serious threat. For the people who are targeted for teasing it is as simple as speaking up for teasing to cease. Teasing is inevitable. It spans all social classes and geographical areas. It isn’t easy to classify teasing as a problem or a case of bullying because the most common and obvious type of bullying to engage in physical harm on a person such as kicking, punching, or hitting. Never stoop to the level of the teaser. Instead go to a responsible adult. No matter how old you get everyone needs help especially when confronting a bully.