Everyone that is a victim of bullying deserves that chance to break all the walls that surround them and understand that they are special, even in a world of billions.
Nusrat, 6th Grade Student
October is National Anti-Bullying Month. The information and activities featured today were taken from the Newspapers in Education supplement, “Stand Up To Bullying.” The tab was created to help raise awareness about the harmful effects of bullying and draws from the prevention materials and supports offered by the BullyBust campaign of the National School Climate Center (NSCC). This is part 3.
WHEN YOU’RE BEING BULLIED…
Being bullied is painful, but it is important to remember that you are not alone! Below are some tips on what you can do if you are being bullied.
Don’t ignore the situation. When you are being bullied, you naturally just want to make it all go away. As a result, some of us just keep everything inside or even avoid going to school! Sometimes the bully does stop and moves on to someone else, but this doesn’t always happen.
Always tell an adult you trust. Tell your parent, a trusted teacher, school counselor or another trusted adult about what’s happening. Share all of the details, and let them know how this made you feel. Ask them what to do next.
Keep in mind that no one deserves to be bullied. Bullies are not bad people, but they are doing bad things. Sometimes kids become bullies because they are bullied at home by their parents and are determined not to be bullied at school, so they bully others instead. Knowing this will help you understand that the bullying doesn’t have to do with you, but with the bully.
Never fight back, but let the bully know you are not an easy target. Stay calm, and tell the bully with confidence and determination to “Stop it,” and to “Leave me alone.” Walk off with confidence.
Stand up to the bully if you feel “safe enough.” This is sometimes easy to say and much harder to do! If you do feel safe enough, confront the bully by telling him or her how you feel, why you feel the way you do and what you want the bully to do. For example, “I feel angry when you call me names because I have a real name. I want you to start calling me by my real name.”
Do not respond directly to the bully’s teasing. Sometimes we just feel too scared to respond. Not responding is actually another good strategy that we can use when we are being bullied. To the best of your ability, just walk away! This is also an important tip to remember when dealing with bullying online. Keep harmful messages from spreading by not responding, adding comments or sending them on to friends. (Again, it is important to let an adult know about this. When you are bullied online, printout a copy of the text or picture and show it to a grown-up.)
Don’t blame yourself! It is common for students to feel that they have somehow “caused” the bullying. Remind yourself that it’s not your fault and talk to a friend, adult in school or parent about the way you feel. Write down your good qualities and discuss them with your family, and use this list as a reminder if you start to blame yourself or feel down.
BE AN UPSTANDER
The best way to prevent bullying is to become an “upstander” to bullying (as opposed to a bystander who stands by and does nothing). An upstander is someone who recognizes when something is wrong and acts to make it right. When an upstander sees or hears about someone being bullied, they speak up. Being an upstander is being a hero: We are standing up for what is right and doing our best to help support and protect someone who is being hurt. In many ways, this is another word for being socially responsible.
Find a story in today’s newspaper that shows a person, group or organization being an upstander. Use the definition in the previous paragraph as a guide and write a journal entry about why this story is a strong example of upstander behavior and who is benefiting from these positive actions.
WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE ELSE BEING BULLIED…
Tell an adult you trust. Some kids think this is tattling or being a snitch, but it is not. When you tell an adult, you are helping someone else who needs support. Most adults really do want to know about bullying, and they want to help. If you tell a grown-up about this and they don’t respond, find another adult you trust and tell them. Many schools have programs to not only help prevent bullying, but to support people – kids and adults- standing up to bully behavior and saying “No, this is not an OK way to act!”