Special education students are often targeted by bullies who seek to intimidate and gain power over others. Consequently, bullies choose students they believe they can dominate. Most of us can recall from our own school days that some students always seemed to be picked on. The perpetrators choose their victims deliberately:
Bullies seek out victims who appear to:
- Be unable to defend themselves;
- Have little social support, few friends;
- Be uninvolved in extra-curricular activities;
- Be among the low achievers in academics or sports;
- Not be popular or focused on by adults in the school;
- Have less developed social skills;
- Have difficulty communicating, especially in stressful situations; and
- Avoid being noticed or be unassertive.
While any student has the potential to show these characteristics that attract bullies, special education students, as a group, may show more of these characteristics to a more pronounced degree, depending on their disability.