First and foremost, teachers must make it safe for students to report bullying. It is crucial that teachers, administrators and other school personnel respect the anonymity of the victim and/or reporting students. Until students trust this will happen, bullying will go unreported, and bullies will continue to thrive.
Second, adults must be aware of all forms of bullying behaviour. All of these types of bullying behaviours can be categorized under four main headings; Physical Bullying, Verbal Bullying, Relational Bullying and Sexual Harrassment (Bullying). Many bullies try to pass off acts of aggression as rough-housing between friends, just having fun.
However, there is a difference between bad play and bullying. An episode of bullying has three identifying intentions:
* There is a power difference between the individual being bullied and the bullier
* There is a negative intent on the part of the bullier to hurt, embarrass or humiliate the other
* The behaviour is repeated, perhaps with others, perhaps with the same person, perhaps with the same person over time
Third, there must be a clear and effective plan for dealing with both the bully and the victim. It is important that all students know the consequences for bullying. Victims need to be taught how to develop friendship skills and learn to interact with assertiveness and confidence.
Fourth, school personnel need to know about the different kinds of bullies. Some apparent victims are actually provocateers, and change their role from victim to bully, depending on who they are interacting with. Finally, the most effective tool for dealing with bullying is to mobilize the masses of students who are neither victims nor bullies to take action against bullying. These students have the potential to significantly reduce bullying simply by the way they react when they witness bullying incidents. Students can take action in many different ways. Refusing to watch bullying, reporting bullying incidents, using distraction with either the bully or the victim are all effective ways of making a difference.
For more information on setting up an anti-bullying program in your school or classroom, please refer to the book “Take Action Against Bullying”.
– Thanks to Cindi Seddon from Bully B’ware Productions for this wonderful information. Please visit www.bullybeware.com for other helpful material on bullying.