Is Social Exclusion Bullying?

February 23, 2017

Social Exclusion is now recognized as a sub group of bullying. This means that idea of excluding someone repeatedly, aggressively and on purpose with the intent to cause emotional harm to them, is right up there with verbal, physical and cyber bullying. Social exclusion is bullying when a child feels alone or left out because of the manipulation of their peer relationships and social status. Social Exclusion is not bullying when say, people make new friends and distance themselves from old friends. That old friend may feel as though they are being “socially excluded” but if there is no aggressive intention to cause harm, they are not being bullied. There is a difference and for students, it is not always easy to tell the difference.

Examples of Social Exclusion:

  • Leaving someone out on purpose when you know they will be hurt by your actions.
  • Telling other students not to be friends with someone.
  • Embarrassing someone in public when someone tries to approach the group.

So here are a few ways that you can help put a stop to social exclusion in your classroom.

  • Facilitate friendships with other students that may have similar interests.
  • Provide increased adult supervision during unstructured time such as during recess, in the cafeteria and on the bus.
  • Provide team “jobs” for the students to get to know one another.
  • Plan a “Mix It Up” Day at lunch where all students get to know others.
  • Role play different scenarios with students and discuss how students may feel if it was happening to them.
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All comments (2)
  • a.
    August 1, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    Social exclusion absolutely is bullying, and I can personally say it's one of the most painful things I've ever experienced. It went on for three […] Read MoreSocial exclusion absolutely is bullying, and I can personally say it's one of the most painful things I've ever experienced. It went on for three years and sent me into a deep depression. There is nothing more devastating than sitting beside people you thought were your best friends, to be given the cold shoulder - or to watch them turn and walk the other way as they spot you coming down the corridor. I remember the pain as if it were yesterday, even 10 years later. It's so easy to brush this off for kids but it's what their life is like every day. I'm lucky that I had the resilience I did, or I might not be here after what I went through. Please don't fail to act on exclusion bullying. Read Less

  • jake111100
    January 6, 2019 at 2:50 am

    I've been socially excluded all my life. Im called an incel. Nice to meet you. I haven't had sex or a kiss in 2 years. […] Read MoreI've been socially excluded all my life. Im called an incel. Nice to meet you. I haven't had sex or a kiss in 2 years. Its now year 30. I was slightly more successful when I was a teen, but that's before people got older. I've been the emotional support for girls who need talk about their feelings with other guys. I've tried to initiate relationships with girls I was interested in, but always rejected. The last relationship was with someone who was using me as a sexual/emotional stopgap until her next dreamy guy came along. She didnt even tell me. Prior to that I went 7 years without sex or a relationship. No kisses either. Every teacher in college kept saying "you have a good heart" or "you're a good kid". I wonder if they were lying to me to make me feel better, or being honest? I've always been loyal to my closest friends, tried to help them, protect them, but that's not enough to be attractive and have a relationship. Everyone around me has sexual experiences on a yearly basis. Hook ups, long term partners. But Im always the one out. I don't like to talk that much, but I enjoy spending time with people. Maybe I'm not animated enough. Maybe I'm not really such a nice person after all, because no one would treat a nice person badly, would they? Maybe I was just born under a bad sign. Maybe I don't socialize well to get other people to like me and I should read self-help books on how to get people to like me... but that feels like manipulation. I'd be changing myself to get things I want from others. Things I feel a desperate need for from others. Isn't the falsification of the self to get benefits from other people the definition of manipulation? But many people, mostly women, don't like me as I am, apparently. It feels just like social exclusion, but I doubt its concerted or intentional. It just seems to be something that happens. Is there an emotional difference to the person who suffers feeling socially excluded, whether it comes from intentional behavior or unintentional behavior? No one is owed society. Isn't it completely within the rights of children to socially exclude others? How about adults? No one can force children to play with others. That'd be against their rights as individual people. Is social exclusion really bullying? Perhaps not. Perhaps social exclusion is the right of individuals not to engage with those they don't like and don't see as their friends, those they don't see as worth talking to and being around. You can't force people to not socially exclude others. Read Less


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