Educate yourself about the problem and be in touch with your own feelings on the issue.
Challenge stereotypes and avoid making stereotypic comments yourself.
Identify yourself as a potential ally by wearing a button, or other identifying symbol.
Go out of your way to befriend people who are different from yourself.
Be a buddy. Give your attention to the victim or better yet, a potential victim – show concern, kindness, friendship.
Join with other allies or form your own support group of allies. The best defense against a bully is the power of a supportive group.
Know who you can go to if you need support.
Be a positive role model in your language and behavior.
Create an “aware” atmosphere. Talk openly about the problem to everyone in the setting.
Help set up safe places for potential victims. Eliminate places where bullies can get a victim alone.
Classrooms, work places, nations need policies that address bullying and set up consequences.
Recognize that there is a problem
Stay calm. Do not show fear or anger. Use a “poker” face.
Do not make assumptions about other people’s behavior – react to the current situation as observed.
Support the victim
Refuse to participate and interrupt the behavior i.e. if you hear an ethnic joke. Do not laugh and tell joker you do not find such jokes funny.
Show concern for the victim.
Make sure victim and bully know you think the behavior is wrong.
Ignore the bully and invite the victim to walk away with you.
Physically stand by the person. Gather others to stand with you.
Say something supportive: Say I am standing with him or her. I am not going to fight. I am with him or her. This is my friend.
Let the bully know that the behavior is not acceptable. Describe the behavior being witnessed and name it impersonally. Not – “You are a bully”, but “Saying that or doing that is bullying.”
Use humor to defuse situations
Act when violence threatens or occurs
If the situation seems like it might become violent, invite the victim to come do something with you, and leave area calmly and quickly. Contact authorities.
If violence is happening or a large group of bullies is involved, stay out of it but yell, scream, attract attention. Get authorities. Do not use violence in response.
After an Incident
After an incident no matter what happens, report to a person in authority or to a supportive group. If there is no group – form one.
Share what happened without identifying the real individuals. Remember: True stories are powerful ways to reach people and inspire compassion.
Be a witness before the authorities. Remember names, the place, the time. Record what the bully(ies) said as soon as you can.
Try the “No Blame Method” of problem solving – Have all involved including bystanders, bully, and victim describe the problem behavior and suggest solutions.
Take responsibility, and educate others how to be allies.
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Saturday, March 5, 2011