Bullying and Bystanders
When you see or hear someone being bullied, what do you do?
Do you join in, or walk away?
Do you try to help the person being bullied, or do you tell those bullying to stop?
Do you get an adult for help, or are you afraid to get involved?
Bystanders have an important role to play in stopping bullying. Often kids bully to get attention and so they will bully when there are other students around. They will often bully in front of other students to get them to like them or to feel powerful. When we stand up to those who bully, help those being bullied or get the help of an adult, we send the message to those bullying that we don’t like their behaviour.
If you see someone else being bullied, don’t join in. Always try and think of how you would feel if you were in that person’s situation. Instead tell those bullying that you don’t think what they are doing is funny or nice, invite those being bullied to join you and walk away from those bullying, or if the situation becomes very serious ask an adult for help. If other students take a stand and help the person being bullied, these bullying are more likely to stop their hurtful behaviour. Once there is no longer someone to bully or an audience giving her or him attention, they will eventually stop bullying. If you have tried to stand up for another student who is being bullied and the bullying is continuing or getting worse, you need to get the help of a trusted adult.
If you have a friend who bullies, talk to them about their behaviour and how you don’t like it. Offer to help them change their ways. Find a trusted adult they could speak with and offer to join your friend when he or she speaks with this adult.
The truth is that bullying will never stop if no one stands up to those who bully, tries to help those being bullied or goes to an adult for help. If you go to an adult and they don’t believe you, find another adult you trust. Promise you will keep looking and asking for help until you find it. We spoke to students your age and almost half believed there was bullying going on in their school! Many students watch as others are being repeatedly bullied and would like to help but are afraid to get involved. They are afraid one of the following things may happen:
The bully will come after them
The bullying will get more violent
Everyone will hate them for “ratting”
Nobody can stop the bully
Nobody ever listens to them or believes what they say
They will get in trouble or be blamed if they ask for help
There is no hope of ever getting the bully to stop
If you see someone being bullied and you’re afraid to step in, you can still help while staying safe
Tell your parents or another adult you trust
Tell an older student – ask them to report the incident to the proper authority
Write down exactly what happened and give the information directly to your teacher, principal, parent or another adult you trust – this information should not be shared with friends or classmates
If you are too afraid to speak with someone directly, you can report violent incidents without giving your name by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800- 222-TIPS
The truth is that bullying will never stop if no one stands up to those who bully, tries to help those being bullied or goes to an adult for help. If you go to an adult and they don’t believe you, find another adult you trust. Promise you will keep looking and asking for help until you find it.
Reporting about bullying is not ratting someone out. It’s very different. Learn about ratting and reporting here.