Parents and teachers may be unaware of how much bullying goes on in the typical school environment: Most bullies are skilled at keeping their behavior off of authority figures' radar. Teachers aren't likely to see incidents that happen in isolated stairwells, online, or in notes and slam books that are passed from student to student.
Although a shortage of adult supervision can make it easier for bullying to go unnoticed, it occurs in schools of all sizes and among every race and class. It starts as early as preschool and seems to spike in frequency (as well as random targeting) during middle school. The youngest bullies may be admired for their toughness, but as they get older, their peers start to view them with disdain.
Many students don't want to be known as tattlers, so they don't speak up about bullying. If you ask a student once if he or she is being picked on, the answer you'll most likely get is "no" or "everything's fine." To identify which children are being bullied, adults must get to know all of the children and observe how they interact with one another. Parents and teachers may be more likely to notice children who seem fearful, intimidated or easily upset than to see actual incidents of bullying.