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Bullying: What Can You Do Now (Not Years From Now)?

Authored By: 
George Higgins, Headmaster

If you’ve ever been the brunt of bullying (and most people have at some point), knowing that it’s just a passing phase and will eventually stop doesn’t really help getting through tomorrow.  The biggest immediate question is: how do you deal with it right now?

The most important thing is communication.  Tell people!  Parents need to know who the bullies are and where the bullying is taking place.  Often times, parents can address the problem among themselves.  Since most everyone knows what it feels like to be bullied, no one wants to ignore it if they feel they can do something to prevent it.  Let parents talk to each other and see if they are able to resolve the situation.

If the bullying is happening in the classroom, talk to the teacher.  He or she may not be aware of what’s happening since students are adept at hiding this from adults; also, anyone being bullied is probably too afraid to speak up because “snitching” will only make things worse.

An experienced teacher with good classroom management skills should be able to create a safe environment that fosters learning.  If you’re terrified, you’re not able to concentrate as well as you need to during a lesson.  Every teacher has a moral responsibility, not to mention a professional obligation, to stop bullying.  Get the teacher to advocate on your behalf.  Chances are, he or she knows what bullying feels like so you’re probably talking to someone who is already on your side.

Finally, let the school’s administration know.  If it’s happening in the halls, the cafeteria, or anywhere else around the school grounds, the dean or head of your school needs to be aware of the students involved.  The head of the school can share this information with the rest of the faculty so everyone can be on the look-out, as well as contact those students’ parents so everyone is on board.  This will show bullies a unified front against their actions and make a universal statement about behaviors that will not be tolerated.

I know there are still places where a student can’t be protected: in a public park, on the sidewalk, in a shopping mall.  But let’s take this one step at a time.  Since most of the time we are at home or at school, making the majority of a day safe will be a huge step in the right direction.

Everyone agrees; bullying is not acceptable!  With everyone’s support, tomorrow can be a better (even if it’s not perfect) day.