In the case of when the bullying happens to someone other than themselves, there are a number of ways students can fight back. Here are 10 major actions that Students against Bullying can take and explanations of how to carry this out, so that the vicious cycle of bullying will be stopped:
Students against Bullying: 1) Start an anti-bullying student ad hoc group. By starting a group focusing on the ill-effects of bullying, and making the group a priority among students, where even popular kids may join, a lot can be done to combat bullying in your school. If the entire school has as its creed and philosophy that bullying is just wrong, and will not be tolerated, then it becomes the bully who is in the minority, not the ones he is trying to intimidate. Once established the group could hold regular after-school or lunch meetings, perhaps once per month, and discuss what needs to be done in the school to cut down on bullying.
Students against Bullying: 2) Take a proactive approach against bullying. Schools can develop a curriculum that supports students who have been bullied, while teaching positive self-esteem. Counsellors are the most instrumental in this process, as they are likely to have the greatest understanding of how to build self-respect and self-esteem. But there needs to be a coordinated effort on the part of all school personnel, so that everyone will know it is a part of what the school does, rather than just a special day about bullying.
Students against Bullying: 3) Teach students to call bullying what it is. If students are taught early on to call bullying what it is, and not sugar-coat or play it down, this will enforce the school’s belief that bullying is wrong. Often times what happens is that schools or individuals will say the bully was “just teasing,” or “going through a phase,” or any number of other excuses to try to explain away what is going on. But bullying is bullying and we should all recognize and call it what it is. Acknowledging something for what it is gives it more credibility as a serious matter.
Students against Bullying: 4) Teach students to stand up against bullying. When students see someone being bullied, there are a number of ways they can stand up against it. One way is they can stand beside the person being bullied and ask the bully if there is a problem. There was an episode of “Andy Griffith” long ago which featured Opie doing just that. It did work, and it often will work in the real world too. The bully depends on secrecy. He has his own little corner of buddies who go along, but other than that, he doesn’t want anyone to know what he is doing. So if they have someone who could just be present when the bullying is first noticed, it may cause the bully to back away, due to the fact that he does not want to get in trouble or have others bigger than him get involved.
Students against Bullying: 5) Challenge the bully to his face when appropriate. Care should be used in doing this. Avoid getting into a physical or verbal fight, but say to the bully’s face what you are going to do if they do not stop and the consequences. A good example is: “What you are doing is bullying and our school does not tolerate bullying…. you can get suspended for that. If you do it again, I will tell.” This straightforward approach probably works more often than not, because you are telling the bully to his face that you know what he is doing, that it is against school rules, and that they will get in bad trouble if they don’t stop.
Students against Bullying: 6) Get students to sign anti-bullying contract. Contracts work well with a lot of things. They get kids to think of the agreement as a legal document, where they are agreeing to stamp out bullying when they can. This gives them a sense of moral responsibility to help out their fellow peers and friends whenever they see maltreatment occur. This could be something the students all take home with them at the beginning of the school year. This is also beneficial in another way. Later, a bully cannot say they did not understand the school policy against bullying if they get in trouble for bullying later on. This allows administrators to take more aggressive action against the bully when needed. Also, the bullies and their family see the material and the contract, reminding them on the school’s strict stance against bullying.
Students against Bullying: 7) Give rewards to those who help out someone who is bullied. Behaviorists tell us that if we want a behaviour to continue, we must reward it. By rewarding the recognizing positive behaviour against bullies wherever they see it, it will reinforce the idea that bullying is a bad thing that will not be tolerated and that students who uphold this idea will be rewarded.
Students against Bullying: 8) Give “Most Improved Behaviour” awards for students who exhibit the greatest change in previous behaviour. By recognizing those who have improved for the better, and have stopped their bullying behaviours, we reinforce positive behaviour and show how much we value positive change. Just like the prisons reward prisoners for good behaviour and attempts to improve themselves, schools should recognize positive changes when they see them.
Students against Bullying: 9) Have regular guest speakers about the effects of bullying. One of the best resources for any anti-bullying campaign in the schools should involve people who have been bullied in the past and have found a way to cope with it. This helps students who might be experiencing bullying now, but also reinforces the idea that the effects of bullying last a lifetime. This might discourage some bullies from bothering others, once they realize how hurtful it is.
Students against Bullying: 10) Have parent meetings which involve both students and parents of bullies and the bullied. While this should be handled with care, and done in a careful manner, and non-accusatory, if it is kept generic and informational in content, it can be very productive. Focus such meetings on what parents can do to help their child, whether they are the parent of a bully or a victim, so it is communicated that both groups are in need of help. If this is done right, it can be very positive.