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Is bullying only a crime when it's physical?

Bullying can have a major impact on your child's life; school activities and other things he or she enjoys could be ruined by the harassment and intimidation the child feels. It's important to know that bullying isn't just physical; it can be mental and verbal as well.

Some kinds of bullying that you can look out for include things like intimidation, harassment, disorderly conduct, and so on. There are some specific behaviors that can constitute bullying. For instance, wearing gang-related items can make some other people feel fearful or like they're in harm's way. Name-calling, making offensive remarks, and making sexual slurs against someone is also considered to be bullying. Physical acts of bullying include punching, hitting, tripping, or slapping people.

Probably one of the newest forms of bullying, cyberbullying, includes bullying others online. This is particularly harmful, as it's quick for hundreds or even thousands of people to see the harassment and to join in. For school-aged children, online harassment can be prominent across social media platforms.

Bullying is being addressed by the government, but there are few federal laws protecting teens and children. However, there are laws that allow parents to sue school districts that don't take action when they know that a child is being harassed at school.

If bullying takes place, it's common for schools to determine the punishment. However, parents may also be able to seek both civil and criminal penalties if the bullying was severe and they are not happy with the outcome provided by the school district. At the end of the day, speaking with a Florida attorney to make sure your child will be safe is a good idea, since bullying litigation can be variable in nature.

Source: FindLaw, "Bullying," accessed March 18, 2016

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