Students Against Bullying , How Can they Fight Back!
Students against Bullying: OUR BEST ARSENAL
One of the best weapons we have against bullying is to get students to fight back. By this, we do not mean students should engage in physical violence or threats themselves. Quite the contrary. But students can fight back by being a part of the system against bullying. Schools can involve students in a number of ways, ranging from holding “Anti-bullying pep rallies,” to just teaching students some good skills in how to handle bullying when they see it.
If the bullying is of a personal nature (that is, when it affects them as the victim), there are 3 possible major courses of action the victim can do to fight back when it comes to Bullying and Students!
1) Get away from the person at the first possible safe moment and report the incident to administrators or teachers.
2) Do nothing and let the person run over you.
3) Stand up to the bully and tell them you are going to tell if they ever mess with you again.
Analyzing these 3 options, we know that #2 is not an option we should even consider. However, it is often the one most chosen by students who are bullied. They would rather take the abuse than to report it, even in the face of dire circumstances. One reason for this is that they are embarrassed by the incident and don’t want it to be known about by their friends. Another reason they don’t report such incidents is due to the fact that they are afraid of retaliation by the bully. But this is what the bully wants. They hope the victim will not tell, and they often use further coercion and threats to keep them from telling. But this does nothing more than keep the vicious bullying cycle going and prevents any real progress from being made. In order to stop the cycle of bullying, kids should be taught to always report bullying when they are a victim of it, and to report every incident. Once the bully realizes that they will be reported every time, they will either stop or move on to another target.
WHEN WE WITNESS BULLYING
The best way that students can fight back against bullying is to commit to keeping their schools free of bullying in the first place. Then, they should sign contracts or agreements, vowing to stand up to bullying wherever they see it. Caution should always be used, and no one should take on a bully that is dangerous under any circumstances. But, if students all work and become proactive to the situation, there can be a large amount of good that can be done to lower the incidences of bullying. Having regular meetings, as well as networking with others, including parents, can be a positive move toward combating bullying within the schools by teaching students to take a proactive approach.
RESOURCES & IDEAS
There are many resources that can help schools focus on student empowerment to fight against bullying. One source offers handouts for students to promote the idea of bullying awareness and some other resources for parents. It also offers a way to get politically involved by signing a digital petition against bullying,or other maltreatment.
Another thing both students and parents can do is to write to senators and representatives. Lawmakers are happy to hear from interested students or patrons in the schools who want to take an active part in combating bullying. As long as the letter is professional in tone, they are usually open to the concerns or ideas on how people can get involved. When having students write to lawmakers, teachers should supervise the composition of the emails or letters. But this is an excellent way to empower students to take an active role in the problem of bullying.
Many schools are focusing on mentoring relationships between older and younger students. This technique usually involves getting older and younger students in a positive relationship in which the older student serves as a big sister or brother to the younger student. This creates an atmosphere of teamwork between older and younger kids, and may cut down on bullying if used widely.
Mentoring’s primary purpose is to provide a way to have older kids help younger ones with homework and personal issues, so that they feel they have a big brother or sister that is there for them. This can be carried a step further to expand into the bullying issues, by incorporating activities into the mentoring process that address bullying.
Education is the key. If more resources are utilized that address bullying and passed along to students to share with others, there can be a great deal of progress made in getting information across to students in the mentor relationships, as well as across the board within the school system.
If everyone will buy into the idea of stopping bullying in its tracks as it occurs, we can begin to move toward a place that curbs bullying before it gets out of control. If students feel they have power concerning bullying, they will be more likely to feel positive about their experience in the school regarding bullying, whether they were a victim of bullying or not.
Dramatic play is another way students can get actively involved. Counselors use this as a tool often with students, having them act out positive or negative behaviors and scenarios, to illustrate to other students how certain behaviors look to others. In addition, it can promote a positive atmosphere within the school or other environments. Also, dramatic play helps kids who tend to want to bully to get out some of their frustrations out in the open in a safe environment. If the counselor facilitates this process, it can be very productive in many ways. Kids who bully can discuss why they bully. Kids who are bullied can share how it hurts them when they are bullied. Out of this, a sense of oneness can evolve over time between bullies and the bullied, so that they seem to be on the same team.
There are a number of other therapeutic methods that can prove beneficial to this process. The main thing is to keep the conversations going about why bullying is harmful and how both sides of the issue can come to some solution. What this whole process will do eventually is to bring the opposing forces together and create a sense of helping community, where everyone feels safe and able to express their problems or issues with others.
Group counseling is also a technique highly related to this which the school counselor can officiate and which provides a high level of support for people on either side of the bullying issue. This can easily be integrated within the dramatic play model, or used concurrently with other methods. This is where the school counselor can be actively involved in the process to combat bullying, The school counselor is certified and licensed to do group therapy, so this can be a very good tool to empower students to fight back against bullying.
Oftentimes the best way to fight something is to understand it. If we all work together in these ways, and create an atmosphere of community involvement, both among our schools, and the community in general, a lot of progress can be made in fighting the bullying problem.
The best resource students have to fight bullying is their own determination to stop bullying when they see it by a number of means. Standing up when they see bullying and acknowledging it for what it is, building mentoring relationships with others and having student meetings are all good ways to build community among students. This creates a sense of working together against a common enemy-bullying. Parent involvement is always a significant component in this process, as is the facilitation of group sessions with the counselor. Not all of these components are always necessary in order to achieve this end. The important thing is to create an atmosphere in which students feel empowered and not helpless. A sense of helplessness only leads to more feelings of isolation and despair. And this can lead to even more bullying. By making it more positive using any of these techniques, students can take a more active part in the war against bullying, and get them working together more.
While there are many critics of some of these ideas, most students find it hard to be bullies in an environment in which brotherhood and friendship are taught between all levels, grades, and socioeconomic statuses. Some of bullying comes from some of these social differences, and the stereotypes that accompany them. If we attack this at the core, and bring students together, we will begin to see positive changes.
Students cannot fight bullying alone, and they should never feel they are on their own in this battle. Rather, students should feel they are more an extension of a system of the school and community that is already in place, which can serve as a precursor toward common goals in which everyone feels safe and happy and are a part of a bigger picture.
There are many other things that can be done. Punishment must still remain in place when bullying occurs. This should not change just because students are taking a more active approach to bullying. But a continual effort to get everyone on the same page will go a long way toward creating a school environment in which students feel they have the power to stop bullying when they see it.
There is a scene at the end of the movie, “Cyber Bullying” in which 5 students stand up against a bully and say they are not going to take it anymore. Then, eventually, more students stand up in the cafeteria and applaud their efforts. This is the kind of support we want to see in order to progress in the fight against bullying, once and for all.