Bullying Essay Prompts High School

Updated | June 2014

Use the links below to navigate this page to find resources on bullying and cyberbullying:

After Phoebe Prince died, we asked students, What Can Be Done to Stop Bullying? Later that year, when Tyler Clementi committed suicide, we asked What Should the Punishment Be for Acts of Cyberbullying? Hundreds of students wrote in to discuss both questions. That summer, we also posted a collection of resources on bullying for teachers and parents.

In May of 2012 we collaborated with the Op-Ed columnist Nicholas D. Kristof to hold an essay contest on bullying. Here, he writes about the contest winners in his column.

Bullying and cyberbullying seem to be in the news more than ever. Visit the related Times Topics page and you’ll find articles about:

What do you think: Has all the attention to this subject by parents, educators, legislators and filmmakers helped?

Below you’ll find our new, comprehensive list of resources, including lesson plans, Times articles, links to organizations around the Web, and a list of questions that we hope will inspire writing and discussion on this important subject.

Some Questions for Discussion or Writing

The following questions are suggested by the related Times or Learning Network materials that are linked above them.

From “Teenagers Tell Researchers It’s a Cruel, Cruel Online World”:

  • Have you witnessed “people being mean or cruel” online, as 88 percent of teens say they have? Have you joined in?
  • How can the use of social media “echo and amplify” bullying?

From “Bullying Law Puts New Jersey Schools on Spot”:

  • Do you agree with the statement, “There is no such thing as an innocent bystander when it comes to bullying”?
  • Are laws like New Jersey’s Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights necessary, or do they go too far?

From “Gossip Girls and Boys Get Lessons in Empathy”:

From an Op-Ed, “Bullying as True Drama”:

  • Would you say there is bullying in your school, or would you just say there is “drama”?
  • What’s the difference between “drama” and behavior that is more serious?
  • Why might the language adults use to talk about bullying (“victim” and ” perpetrator,” for instance) be alienating to young adults?

From “Behind Every Harassed Child? A Whole Lot of Clueless Adults,” A.O. Scott’s review of the movie “Bully”:

  • How can adults — often unwittingly — contribute to the problem of bullying?
  • To what extent do you think cruelty is “embedded” in our schools and in our society as a whole?

From “The Bleakness of the Bullied,” Charles M. Blow’s column about the bullying he endured at age 8:

  • How does it feel to a child to be bullied?

From our lesson plan, ‘A Troubling Trend’: Discussing Bullying and Anti-Gay Attitudes:

  • What, if anything, can be done to make schools safer and more inclusive?

Learning Network Resources

Lesson Plans and Other Teaching Materials:

Lesson | ‘A Troubling Trend’: Discussing Bullying and Anti-Gay Attitudes

Reader Idea | A Student-Driven Bullying Curriculum

Lesson | Do The Right Thing: Making Ethical Decisions in Everyday Life

Lesson | No Place for Bullies: Holding Anonymous Discussions to Reflect on Solutions

Lesson | Crossing the Line Online: Sexual Harassment and Violence in the Age of Social Media

Common Core Practice | College Basketball, Defining Bullying, and Water in India

Lesson | Does Motivation Matter? Debating the Legal Category of Hate Crime

Lesson | Who’s Got the Power? Reflecting on Healthy and Abusive Relationship Dynamics

Lesson | Responding in Kind: Writing Essays About Choosing Kindness in the Face of Cruelty

Lesson | Many Reasons Why: Reflecting on Teen Depression

Lesson | Monkey See, Monkey Do: Considering the Social Ecosystems of Schools by Learning About a Baboon Troop

Lesson | Hall Monitors: Investigating Violence in Schools

Guest Post | 10 Ways to Talk to Students About Sensitive Issues in the News

Reading Club | Should Character Be Taught? Students Weigh In

Teaching Resources Series | Adolescent Health

Q. and A. | How Facebook Use Correlates With Student Outcomes

Student Opinion Questions:
All of the following questions are still open to student comment:

How Big a Problem Is Bullying or Cyberbullying in Your School or Community?

When Do Pranks Cross the Line to Become Bullying?

Do Adults Who Are ‘Only Trying to Help’ Sometimes Make Things Worse?

Does Mitt Romney’s High School Bullying Matter?

Should the R Rating for ‘Bully’ Be Changed?

Can Kindness Become Cool?

How Should Schools Address Bullying?

What Should the Punishment Be for Acts of Cyberbullying?

What Can Be Done to Stop Bullying?

How Do You Use Facebook?

How Much Do You Gossip?

Who Has the Power in School Social Life?

Are You Popular, Quirky or Conformist?

Do You Unknowingly Submit to Peer Pressure?

Does Your Digital Life Have Side Effects?

Selected Recent New York Times Content:


A Curriculum to Strengthen Students Against Cyberbullying

On Facebook, Bullies ‘Like’ if You Hate

School Bullies Prey on Children With Autism

Family of Boy, 12, Who Hanged Himself Points to Bullying

A Star Athlete Makes a Big Move Off the Field

Film Review: “Behind Every Harassed Child? A Whole Lot of Clueless Adults”

“Bullying Law Puts New Jersey Schools on Spot”

“In Suburb, Battle Goes Public on Bullying of Gay Students”

“Minnesota School District Reaches Agreement on Preventing Gay Bullying”

Motherlode: “What Works to End Bullying?”

Motherlode: “How Do We Define Bullying?”

“Accusations of Bullying After Death of Staten Island Teenager”

SchoolBook: “Bullying Changes a School, One Child at a Time”

Well: “Talking About the It Gets Better Project”

“Rutgers Verdict Repudiates Notion of Youth as Defense”

From the Opinion Pages:

Nicholas D. Kristof: The Winning Essays Are …

Nicholas D. Kristof: “Born to Not Get Bullied”

Bill Keller: “Tyler and Trayvon”

Bill Keller: “Tyler and Trayvon, Continued …”

Charles M. Blow: “The Bleakness of the Bullied”

Op-Ed: “Bullying as True Drama”

Op-Ed: “Make the Punishment Fit the Cyber-Crime”

Times Multimedia

Interactive | Coming Out: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Teenagers Talk About Their Lives

Slide Show | In Skidmore, Mo., a Killing Lingers

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