Do You Witness Bullying?
What does “witness” mean? According to dictionary.com: to be present at (an occurrence) as a formal witness, spectator, bystander, etc. Being a witness or bystander is what this section is all about.
You aren't someone who bullies others, and you haven't been bullied yourself. But if you see it happening to others, you can help put a stop to it. In order to stop bullying, everyone needs to lend a hand and get involved! And even though it might be easier to stand by and watch (or try to ignore the bullying), just remember, we all need a little help from time to time! Think about how you might feel if the bullying was happening to YOU.
We like to say that it’s not terribly different from witnessing a car accident or fire – you don’t just stand by and watch – you call 911, you run for help, you inform an adult – you try to help. You do this because it’s the right thing to do, because that’s how we define a “Hero” – doing the right thing in the face of danger or serious repercussion. And we do it because we trust that if the tables were turned and we were in a wreck or fire, that someone else would do it to help us. This is reciprocity and community responsibility.
If you can find the courage to be a hero for a classmate who is being bullied - there are all kinds of great things you can do to help. The next time you see someone being bullied, try one (or more) of these ideas and make a real difference!
Report the bullying to an adult.
Many kids who are bullied are scared to tell an adult about it (especially a teacher or principal), because they are afraid the person bullying them will find out and the bullying will just get worse. That's where you come in. Even if it's a little scary for you to tell an adult about bullying that you see, it's the right thing to do. It’s very often scary to do the right thing – but that’s what courage and character are all about. It's not tattling—you're helping someone out. Who should you tell? You could tell your teacher, guidance counselor, parents, coach, or any adult you feel comfortable talking with – and you can call us at 937-498-7261. It might be a little less scary if you ask a friend to go along with you. Be sure to tell the adult exactly what happened—who was bullied, who did the bullying, and where and when it happened. If you're not sure if another kid is being bullied but you think they probably are—it's good to report that, too. If you told an adult and you don't think they did anything about the bullying (or if it isn't getting any better), find another adult to tell and if they still don’t listen, call us, we’ll try to help.
Support someone who is being bullied.
Sometimes the best thing you can do for a person who is being bullied is just to be there for him or her and be a friend. Whether this means simply paying them a sincere compliment, agreeing to walk home with him or her after school, sitting with him or her on the bus or at lunch, trying to include him or her in your school or social activities, or just spending some time with him or her and trying to understand what he or she is going through, it will make a huge difference! These may seem like small things to you but they will show a kid who is being bullied that you care about him or her and the problems he or she is facing. And that can be the biggest and best help of all!
Stand up to the person doing the bullying.
If you feel safe doing this, tell a person who is bullying that what he or she is doing is wrong and that he or she should stop. Keep it simple. You could just say, "Ben, cut it out. Nobody thinks that's funny." If you can, get some friends to join you. When kids who bully see that other kids don't think it's cool, they are more likely to stop. Just be sure you don't bully them back! It's not easy to stand up to kids who may be bigger and stronger than you or really popular, so if you're not comfortable doing this, that's OK – but still report it to an adult!
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