Now that school is back in full swing, I would like to touch a little bit on bullying and hope that you share this with your children or grandchildren. Ask them if they are being bullied? Do they see bullying at their school? There are things they can do to keep themselves and other kids safe from bullying. Here are just a few:
Treat everyone with respect
Nobody should be mean to others. Stop and think before you say or do something that could hurt someone. If you feel like being mean to someone, find something else to do. Play a game, watch TV, or talk to a friend. Talk to an adult you trust. He or she can help you find ways to be nicer to others. Keep in mind that everyone is different. Not better or worse. Just different. If you think you have bullied someone in the past, apologize. It makes everyone feel better.
What to do if you’re bullied
There are things you can do if you are being bullied. Look at the kid bullying you and tell him or her to stop in a calm, clear voice. You can also try to laugh it off. This works best if joking is easy for you. It could catch the kid bullying you off guard. If speaking up seems too hard or not safe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult to stop the bullying on the spot.
There are things you can do to stay safe in the future, too. Talk to an adult you trust. Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone. He or she can help you make a plan to stop the bullying. Stay away from places where bullying happens. Stay near adults and other kids. Most bullying happens when adults aren’t around.
Stand up for others
When you see bullying, there are safe things you can do to make it stop. Talk to a parent, teacher, or another adult you trust. Adults need to know when bad things happen so they can help. Be kind to the kid being bullied. Show that you care by trying to include him or her. Sit with the kid at lunch or on the bus, talk to him or her at school, or invite them to do something. Just hanging out with them will help them know they aren’t alone. Not saying anything could make it worse for everyone. The kid who is bullying will think it is OK to keep treating others that way.
Get involved You can be a leader in preventing bullying in your community. Find out more about where and when bullying happens at your school. Think about what could help. Then, share your ideas. There is a good chance that adults don’t know all of what happens. Your friends can go with you to talk to a teacher, counselor, coach, campus police or parent and can add what they think.
Talk to the principal about getting involved at school. Schools sometimes give students a voice in programs to stop bullying. Be on a school safety committee. Create posters for your school about bullying. Be a role model for younger kids.