Helpful “Bully Prevention” Information For Teachers:
- Stay away from bullies.
- If you know a kid who doesn’t like you, then KEEP YOUR DISTANCE.
- If the bully gets in your face, then IGNORE THE BULLY and WALK AWAY. Don’t let them know they “got to you”. The bully is looking for you to react so don’t. Leave the situation as quickly as possible. It’s harder for the bully to bully you if you’re not there to listen.
- ALWAYS TELL SOMEONE you trust and who can help you. Don’t suffer in silence! If you can’t tell them in person, then write a note explaining the situation. If you’re afraid to tell your parents, then confide in grandparents, brothers, sisters, or another adult you trust such as a teacher or school counselor.
- WHEN YOU TELL SOMEONE YOU SHOULD TELL THEM:
- WHAT happened to you and WHAT YOU DID.
- WHO BULLIED YOU and WHO SAW it happen.
- WHERE IT HAPPENED and HOW OFTEN it happened.
- WRITE DOWN EVERYTHING that happened to you in your journal.
- GET HELP FROM A PERSON IN AUTHORITY. It’s the job of teachers or counselors to help stop the bullying. If you’re uncomfortable, then take someone along. You can tell the authorities when the bully is not around. If you’re being physically bullied, then ask to keep your name confidential.
- If the bullying is physical, then SEE YOUR DOCTOR OR SCHOOL NURSE. Ask them to write down your experience so you have an official record.
- KEEP A JOURNAL of your experiences and feelings about what happened. Also write down things others did for you. The journal shouldn’t contain only negative entries.
- KNOW YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS. Consider having your parents using complaint procedures or the courts to stop the bullying.
- AVOID PLACES WHERE BULLIES HANG OUT. Commute to and from school earlier or later in the day. Take different routes to school. Try not to be alone in the hallways, locker rooms, restrooms, or empty classrooms.
- WALK TO SCHOOL WITH SOMEONE - brothers, sisters, neighbors, or friends.
- CARPOOL TO SCHOOL and don’t be alone in the school parking lot.
- NEVER BRING EXPENSIVE STUFF OR LOTS OF MONEY to school. Bullies pick on people who bring things they can take. It’s not worth getting hurt to protect your possessions. Property can be replaced but you can’t!
- BE CAREFUL WHO YOU GIVE YOUR PHONE NUMBER AND EMAIL ADDRESS TO. Harassing messages can be a criminal offense. The police can help.
- HANG OUT WITH FRIENDS. Bullies tend to pick on people who are alone.
- JOIN CLUBS - social groups, sports teams, after-school programs, church groups, community groups, and similar activities. Counter your anger with physical activity. You can find friends who like the same things you do while also avoiding bullies.
- BE CONFIDENT and believe in yourself.
- TALK TO THE BULLY and try to REASON OR RATIONALIZE WITH THEM. It may be hard to believe, but some people might not realize that they’re bullies. PREPARE SOMETHING TO SAY to the bully in advance. Keep them short and don’t be mean-spirited. SPEAK FIRMLY so you don’t seem intimidated.
- DON’T FIGHT BACK OR LOSE YOUR COMPOSURE. It’ll only make it worse. Bullies try to unnerve people so don’t let them. STAY CALM and try to calm the bully.
- CHECK OUT YOUR BODY LANGUAGE. Stooping, avoiding eye contact, fidgeting, and similar gestures show that you’re not confident. LOOK ASSERTIVE. Hold your head up, stand up straight, look people in the eye, and walk proudly and the bully will be less likely to harass you.
- As a last resort you can TAKE ASSERTIVENESS TRAINING. It can make you more confident and help protect yourself if absolutely necessary.
How Can You Help Someone Who's Being Bullied?
- DON’T JOIN IN. Don’t try to fit in by excluding others.
- BE A FRIEND to someone being bullied. Help them and ask them to tell someone about their experience. Go with them if they need support.
- DON’T QUESTION your friend. It’ll make them feel as if they did something wrong. Approach the subject casually. Let them know that there is always the option to talk and you’ll listen at any time. When they talk LISTEN CAREFULLY. Don’t over react to what they say.
- DON’T OVERLOAD THEM EMOTIONALLY because you are there to help them, not to add to their problems.
- FIND HELP from teachers, parents, friends, or other adults. TELL SOMEONE if you see someone being bullied. You can keep your name confidential.
- DON’T FIGHT THE BULLY. It might not be safe. Go tell someone instead.
- KEEP CLOSE TO THE KID BEING BULLIED and LOOK FOR WARNING SIGNS. If someone threatens suicide, then take this seriously. Bullying can also result in destructive habits and/or withdrawal of the person being bullied. People may begin taking drugs or skipping school to avoid the bully and their situation. If you see any of these signs, then tell their parents, a teacher, counselor, or adult with experience in the field.
Sources from Teacher magazine:
- Bullying at School: What We Know and What We Can Do, by Dan Olweus, 1993; $19.95. Contact: Blackwell Publishers, P.O. Box 20, Williston, VT 05495; (800) 216-2522.
- Bully-Proofing Your School, by Carla Garrity, Kathryn Jens, William Porter, Nancy Sager, and Cam Short-Camilli, 1996; $29.95. Contact: Sopris West, 1140 Boston Ave., Longmont, CO; 80501; (303) 651-2829.
- The Bullying Prevention Handbook: A Guide for Principals, Teachers, and Counselors, by John Hoover and Ronald Oliver, 1996; $21.95. Contact: National Education Service, 1252 Loesch Rd., Bloomington, IN 47402; (812) 336-7700 or (800) 733-6786.
- Bullyproof: A Teacher’s Guide on Teasing and Bullying for Use With Fourth and Fifth Grade Students, by Nan Stein, Lisa Sjostrom, and Emily Gaberman, 1996; $19.95, plus $5 shipping and handling. Contact: Centers for Women, Publications, Wellesley College, 106 Central St., Wellesley, MA 02181; (617) 283-2532.
From the National PTA:
- Safe at School: Awareness and Action for Parents of Kids K-12, by Carol Silverman; Saunders Free Spirit Publishing Inc. 400 First Ave. N., Suite 616 Minneapolis, MN 55401-1730 (612) 338-2068. The tips in this book help parents deal with bullying, gangs, sexual harassment, and other school safety issues.
- Why Is Everybody Always Picking on Me? A Guide to Handle Bullies, by Terrence Webster-Doyle; Atrium Society Publications P.O. Box 816 Middlebury, VT 05753 (800) 966-1998 or (802) 388-0922. This book helps children and teens to develop the confidence needed to resolve conflicts without fighting and to cope with bullies.