Stopping Bullying

In the USA ~ October 2012 marks the seventh PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Month that unites communities nationwide to raise awareness of bullying prevention. This event includes activities, education and awareness building for the entire month.

According to the National Association of School Psychologists, bullying is the most common form of violence in our society. In a 2001 national survey of students in grades 6 through 10:

  • 13% reported bullying others
  • 11% reported being a victim of bullies
  • Another 6% said that they both bullied others and were bullied themselves
  • These numbers mean that over five million children are affected by bullying

Source: Surfnetkids

Bullying is the conscious desire to hurt, exclude or put someone else down to make you feel better. Bullying can be in looks, actions or words. Bullying is not a joke. It is unacceptable. Each student has the right to feel safe, happy and wanted.

Bullying could include:

  • Being ignored constantly
  • Being excluded from the group
  • Having rumors spread about you
  • Being made fun of

You are helping a bully by:

  • Providing an audience
  • Not supporting someone who is being bullied
  • Passing on harassing notes
  • Passing on rumors
  • Laughing at a bully’s actions

Are you being bullied or harassed? What can you do? Positive strategies to help counter bullying…

  • Be assertive. Explain to the bully how you feel.
  • Discuss it with friends. Get help from them.
  • Consider your behavior.
  • Avoid situations which lead to bullying.
  • Ignore it. Don’t let the bully know that you are upset.
  • Go to peer mediation.
  • Go to the school Counselor.
  • Talk to a trusted person.
  • Tell your Coordinator/Counselor.
  • Talk to your parents.
  • Remember – It’s OK to let someone know what’s happening!!!

Why don’t young people tell adults? (About being bullied)

  1. They are ashamed of being bullied.
  2. They are afraid of retaliation.
  3. They don’t think anyone CAN help them.
  4. They don’t think anyone WILL help them.
  5. They’ve bought into the lie that bullying is a necessary part of growing up.
  6. They might believe that adults are part of the lie – they bully too.
  7. They have learned that “ratting” on a peer is bad, not cool.
  • Students typically feel that adult intervention is infrequent and ineffective and that telling adults will only bring more harassment from bullies.
  • Students are also reluctant to tell teachers or school staff as many adults view bullying as a harmless rite of passage that is best ignored – unless verbal and psychological intimidation crosses the line into physical assault or theft.

Here’s how the school can help…

  • Provide a reporting method
  • Provide counseling
  • Give advice on how to handle the situation
  • Arrange peer mediation
  • Keep confidentiality if requested
  • Listen sympathetically and carefully and take your problem seriously
  • Support you
  • Investigate all incidents
  • Bring both the victim and the bully together for conflict resolution

All bullying and harassment will be taken seriously…

  • The social context and supervision at school has been shown to play a major part in the frequency and severity of bullying problems. While teachers and administrators do not have control over individual and family factors which produce children who are inclined to bully, bullying problems can be greatly reduced in severity by appropriate supervision, intervention and climate in a school.
  • Supervision of children has been found to be of prime importance. Just as low levels of supervision in the home are associated with the development of bully problems in individual children, so are low levels of supervision at school, particularly on the playground, schoolyard and in the hallways.
  • The social climate in the school needs to be one where there is warmth and acceptance of all students, and one where there are high standards for student and teacher behavior toward one another. Teacher attitudes toward aggression, and skills with supervision and intervention, partly determine how teachers will react to bullying situations. Curricula, administrative policies and support are also very important.

Four easy ways to deal with bullies in the classroom or program…

  • OBSERVE: Quietly watch students as they interact during free time.
  • ASK: An anonymous survey can reveal when and where bullying occurs.
  • EDUCATE: Teach students what bullying is and the damage it can cause.
  • ENFORCE: Hold bullies accountable for their actions with fair consequences.

If your school has anti-bullying activities – join them and take part. 
If they don’t – start some of your own. Some schools and programs have taken the following measures to help youth:

  • Unite with other communities with PACER. It takes a community to prevent bullying of children. Annual National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week, each October, encourages communities nationwide to work together to increase awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children.

Families, students, schools, organizations and other groups can unite with PACER to prevent bullying in several ways. Activities and materials such as contests, toolkits and online bullying prevention training are available to help reduce bullying in schools, recreational programs and community organizations. PACER has designed free web sites, downloadable activities and helpful information for teachers, administrators, parents and community organizations to engage and educate children about bullying prevention in grades K – 5.

There are resources designed for teens, teachers, administrators, parents and other professionals to engage, empower and educate students, schools and communities about bullying prevention for middle and high school students.

Good ideas some schools have started

  • Bully Boxes: 
Kids can put notes in the box if they are too worried to tell someone. If your school has boxes like these use them wisely. Advise the kids to always make sure that anything they write about is the truth.
  • Set up a Buddy System: Older students can sometimes volunteer to help new or younger students coming into the school or your program by getting to know them.
  • Special campaigns 
such as a “no-bullying day” can be a big help.
  • Counseling 
is a good way of talking to someone. 
Can you have someone come in and talk about kids who are being bullied or who are bullying others? Some schools have set up peer counseling where kids volunteer to learn how to help other kids.
  • Mediation: 
Some schools and programs have introduced mediation where two people who disagree about something agree that a third person, either an adult or another student, helps to find a solution to a problem. This can be helpful in many situations, but not in all cases of bullying… 
A bully may refuse to take part because they have no interest in ending the bullying. A victim may feel that a negotiated solution is not fair when it is the other person who is completely in the wrong.
  • Taking part in plays and other drama activities 
can help people to understand what it feels like to be bullied and to think about what they can do to stop it. This is something that classroom and after school programs can facilitate.
  • Peer support 
where older students volunteer to discuss things such as bullying, friendship or drugs with groups of younger students.
  • Practice: Tip From Barb Shelby ( There are several good ideas in this category; many of them will give you information and activities to help derail bullying. Rather than spending a lot of time discussing problems, have children actually practice what to do to prevent or stop those problems.
    • Teach children skills and give them the words and tools to handle conflicts, bullying and challenges. Have children practice. Practice with their voices, with their bodies and non-verbal communication. Coach them to experience success.
    • Don’t allow challenges in your program. Build a strong “Program Community” where the kids connect and feel good about themselves and their group. Some of the activities in the “Connecting & Feeling Good Category” may help with this.
  • To initiate a discussion with children, use message books as learning tools! Stories are a great way for children to learn what other children are doing in similar situations. There are bully theme and message book suggestions for children on KidActivities. There is also a list for adults with Anti-Bully and Conflict Resolution Themes.
  • In sharing  bullying prevention strategies in School Age Notes, Nancy Mullin proposed providing activities that promote self-confidence, build self-control and resilience, and foster community connections among children.
    • Bullied children benefit from participating in a wide range of activities that help them develop common interests with peers, hone friendship-making skills and build relationships.
    • Children who tend to be easily left out because they lack social graces or have difficulty reading social signals need guidance to practice pleasant ways of entering play, making conversation and “understanding” the nuances of give-and-take relationships.
    • Form friendship circles to provide isolated youth with social supports. Children who tend to bully others benefit from opportunities to practice self-control, perspective taking, prosocial behavior and positive ways to engage their peers. Offering cooperative alternatives to competitive games can also help reduce aggression.

Possible consequences for bullies…

  • Counseling
  • Confronting the bully with the victim
  • Have the bully listen to the victim’s hurt
  • Initiate peer mediation with the victim
  • Contact parents/guardians
  • Insist on and monitor a behavior contract
  • Take away privileges
  • Suspend bully from school
  • Ask bully to leave the school
  • Take legal action. If you are bullied or harassed you CAN do something about it!

Stop bullying now!

Education World offers lessons designed to teach students to respect diversity and resolve ideological differences peacefully. It includes activities for teaching kids about empathy, anger management and effective conflict resolution. Click here for more information regarding the following activities:

: Students anonymously complete a survey about their experiences with bullying, evaluate the results and discuss solutions to the problem.
Students discuss conflict resolution techniques and color posters about those techniques.
  3. THE AVERAGE KID: Students determine the traits they have in common with other students in the class and create a visual profile of the “average” boy and girl in the class.
: Students work together to create a Bill of Rights for a colony they are founding on a distant planet.
Students learn about the different ways people respond to conflict and then explore some sample scenarios to learn about their own conflict styles.
: Students learn a song to help them deal with anger.
Students play a variation of Simon Says that highlights their similarities and differences.
Students learn about needs and feelings, then write an ending to a story showing how a child deals with his or her needs and feelings.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.