top of page

Rude, Mean or Bullied



Many schools in Ontario practice anti bullying events and campaigns to promote kindness awareness. Bullying videos and images that depict mean kids pushing other kids against the locker or the kid that beats up others at recess or after school is the first image conjured when thinking of bullying.

On a daily basis, students encounter conflict and are learning to differentiate what is rude, mean or what should be classified as genuine bullying. How do students tell the difference when they may be dealing with a mean or rude peer rather than a "bully"? Teacher guidance and support is essential in educating young children in discriminating between these roles.

Differentiating between the three will also determine action and response by the recipient. Students need to be taught the difference based on kid friendly examples and scenarios that they personally experience. Taking common experiences that students face will provide them with meaningful context to discriminate what it means to be Rude, Mean or a bully. For example teaching students to identify when a peer says something or does something that’s unintentional yet rude versus intentional and mean. Bumping into a peer and spilling their drink on the desk and not helping to clean it up and nor acknowledging their mistake is simply rude. This is a product of poor manners.

Ask yourself, could this be an accident or did they do it on purpose? You will know if they did it on purpose because of their reaction. Elbowing a peer as you walk by them and they spill their food while laughing is mean as this act was purely intentional.

Consistently elbowing the peer as they walk by even after they have been told to stop, is bullying. A more common example of bullying is when a peer consistently shuns another peer and does not pick them to be part of the group is a form of bullying.

Rudeness might seem like poor manners. Perhaps bragging about grades, or ease of accomplishments in academics or athletics that degrade others accomplishments.

Mean behaviour may be criticism on personal belongings, personal attacks on their accomplishments or ability.

One important lesson for students is to reflect on IS IT BULLYING? This summary helps remind students how to interpret peer behaviour.

When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s


When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that’s


When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it-even when

you tell them to stop or

show them that you’re upset-that’s



Barbara Collorsso

Trudy Ludwig

193 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page