What is Bullying?

Avery Quinn: Unnatural Disasters

Avery, a fourth grader is bullied by a group of students at his school. Avery is the narrator who shows us what happens and what he thinks and feels.

My head and stomach ached as I limped to the bus stop my first day of fourth grade. I was sweating. It felt more like summer than fall. My skin itched unbearably where my leg brace rubbed against my knee. I wished I were still on vacation, my bare feet in the Nashua River. I saw the school bus coming. My chest tightened. A lion’s cage on wheels! I quickly shoved my ugly hand into my pocket to hide it. The doors opened. I climbed the steps, putting my right foot on the first step and pulling my left leg up. Then the right foot on the second step, followed by pulling up the left. Without looking at anyone around me I slumped into the only front seat on the bus. That is where I always sat. Alone.

“If it isn’t the sportsman Avery Quinn,” a mean and familiar voice yelled from the back of the bus.

My hot body went instantly cold.

“Avery is a girl,” the boy shouted.

It was Ryon. He knew I was a boy but teased me about my name…

…The girls laughed. It hurt that they thought Carlos was so funny when he picked on me. Carlos motioned for me to stand in front of him. Not knowing what else I could do, I complied. He towered over me. My block of ice melted. I thought, if only I could evaporate and disappear.

“Hurry up,” Ryon said. “You’re slowing us down…”

“Baby steps,” jeered Carlos…

Handout: Claire

Bullying is when one person or a group of people who are more powerful (stronger, older, more skilled, or more popular) intentionally treat someone disrespectfully over and over again.

Claire was a new student at our school. Two girls started a club against her called the Hate Claire Club. They passed around a note asking us to promise to hate Claire. Almost every girl in the fifth grade signed it.

1. Is it ever okay to treat someone the way Claire was treated? Explain your answer.

2. How does Claire’s experience fit with the definition of bullying?

3. What do you think Claire should do?

4. If his happened to someone you knew, what would you do?


From Empowering Children to Help Stop Bullying in School.