Tips on Countering Bullying

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1: Take any bullying reports very seriously

The mentality that “kids will be kids” or that kids will be able to sort out the problem themselves will not solve anything and will further complicate things in the future.  One should always step in and provide help, especially when a student asks for it.

2: Have staff be proactive when they supervise children and interactions

Staff should be ready to intervene in possible bullying incidents.  Extra effort should go into monitoring areas that bullying occurs most, such as bathrooms and cafeterias.  Avoid being passive and thinking “kids will be kids” and the situation will subside.

3: Explain to those who bully the harm they are causing to victims

Sometimes a child, especially younger ones with developing social skills and emotional intelligence may not realize that what they think is playing or their incessant teasing is bullying and is harmful to others.  Kindly but firmly explain that what they are doing is not acceptable.  However, further action should be taken if the bullying continues.

4: Take any conflicts seriously before they escalate

Behavior that may be harmful should be stopped immediately.  After intervening, listen to all parties involved to evaluate whether the behavior is harmful enough to be categorized as bullying or not.  Take action if necessary.

5: Support those who are getting bullied

Remind them that you and others are there to help them and assure them that they will be alrightListen to all their concerns without judging them.  Give them advice on what action they can take themselves to stop the bullying, as it can be empowering and help build their confidenceAlso, show that you care and that will be persistent in making sure that the bullying ends.  Students should support their each other and get help for those who are being bullied if they do not seek help themselves

6: Get intervention from other sources if necessary

Call the police in severe cases of assault, extortion, or hate crimes.  Call paramedics for medical attention if needed.

7: Encourage kids to share their experiences and problems with a trusted adult

Remind them that you are there to help them.  Assure them that they are not a burden and do not deserve to be mistreated.

8: Parents should contact the school and address concerns as soon as possible

As soon as you feel or find out your child is being bullied, you should contact the school so administrators can take appropriate action.  Delaying action or hoping the situation will subside may exacerbate the situation.  Know that teachers and administration at the school are there to help you.  It is their job to best serve your child and maintain a safe environment to help them learn.  However, teachers and administrators should also contact parents to let them know what their child is experiencing at school.  Children may not be comfortable sharing their problems and may be suffering in silence with self-esteem and self-image problems, even if the bullying has been taken care of.

9: Hold counseling/therapy for victims, bullies, or anyone who may have any concerns

It is important that all parties that need attention should have a trained professional provide counseling to help address concerns.  This is especially necessary if experiences were traumatic.  Someone who bullies may also need counseling in order to find the reason that they are bullying.

10: Effectively deal with those who bully

The student who bullies should make amends to any wrongs he committed, such as making repairs, paying for damages, or replacing damaged property. A constructive consequence should be given to the student, like writing a letter of apology to those they harmed, give a lesson to a class about bullying, or community service.  Punishments like detention or suspensions are not effective in reducing the amount of bullying.

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