Bullies, the Bullied and bystanders
Three ways to Curb bullying in your classroom
The bully’s fist slammed into my face. From elementary school through high school, bullies targeted me. They choked, chased, punched, threatened, and intimidated me. As a short and skinny kid, I can remember at least nine encounters with nine different bullies.
You may have a similar story.
According to the Center of Educational Statistics, “1 out of every five students report being bullied. For me, I was too scared to tell anyone. Decades later, as an adult, I finally told my story, and the raw emotions transported me back, and healing finally took place.
What is bullying?
Bullies have made playgrounds famous, But in today’s society, bullying exists as physical, verbal, cyber, and social.
The New Oxford American Dictionary defines a bully as “a person who uses strength or power to harm or intimidate those who are weaker.” In nature, the most vulnerable animals are weak, sick, and isolated. In human nature, bullies prey on the most vulnerable children: the weak, sick, and isolated.
ISP’s DreamMakers-DreamBreakers elementary curriculum addresses bullying in lesson #23: “Be a Buddy – Not a Bully.” The lesson deals with bullies, those who are bullied, and the bystanders.
A cyberbully’s playground is online. He harms or intimidates others through the internet or social media such as Facebook or texting.
Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center defines Cyberbullying as:
“Methods of cyberbullying include using social media, video games, texting, or anonymous apps to bully other youth, post embarrassing photos, share private information, or send threatening messages. Cyberbullying includes gossiping and spreading rumors, or untrue stories.”
Some forms of cyberbullying are considered a crime. Social bullying and cyberbullying can overlap.
Here is how Pacer’s defines Social bullying:
“This type of bullying is done with the intent to hurt somebody’s reputation, relationships, or social standings. Social bullying is most common among girls, and this can occur by ignoring others.”
Bullying prevention begins by getting teachers, parents, and students involved in the process. Here is a look at bullying from three perspectives.
Getting to the root cause of bullying may result in fewer people being bullied. “A person’s outward behavior is a reflection of their inner well-being or lack of it.” In other words, “hurting individuals hurt others.” So just don’t look at the bully’s outward behavior.”
By looking past their tough exterior into their internal motivation and struggles, you will probably find an unhappy, fearful person. You could be bullying you because they are copying the behavior of the person who is bullying them.
What should they do?
Stand up to the bully. Be assertive, but not aggressive.
Try to stay calm and walk away quickly.
For me, I ran, and he caught me.
Firmly tell the bully to stop and look them in the eye. After the bully clocked me in the face, I turned toward him and looked him in the eye. He got impatient, and his friends told him to come along; they wanted to get going.
Immediately tell a trusted adult.
Seek good friendships and stay close to friends when you are in an environment of possible bullying.
The Student Bystanders:
How should they respond?
Be a friend to everyone. You can be a buddy to the victim.
If it is possible to safely do so, intervene when bullies are picking on someone. Tell the bully to stop and encourage the victim to walk away with you.
Tell a trusted adult.
Call to Action:
- Remind your students they can come and talk with you if they are bullied.
- Invite a speaker to your school assembly to address the problem.
- Teach conflict resolution ideas to your students.
A Comprehensive Plan to Prevent Bullying (The Journal of Pediatric Health Care, Martha K. Swartz, August /2016).
18%- 31% of students experience bullying in schools
7% -15% of children and youth experience cyberbullying through social media, instant messaging, and other electronic communication forms.
How parents can prevent their child from being bullied