Bullying is a greater problem in our schools then most educators realize. Studies show that approximately 25% of students are bullied with some frequency. Bullying takes many forms including hitting or punching, name calling or teasing, intimidation, social exclusion, and sending mean notes or e-mails.
Unfortunately, although bullying can have a huge negative impact on its victims, adults are many time unaware of it’s presence. Often, bullying happens out of the sight of teachers and adults in unsupervised places. Many times, we think of bullies as big, mean, loners when in fact, many bullies are very popular kids that deceive adults in a very Eddie Haskell-like fashion. The forms of bullying are extremely subtle like a threatening look, a mean note, or excluding a child from the group.
Most incidents of bullying go unreported to adults. Many of the bullying victims fear retaliation so they never speak to an adult about it. In addition, they feel that teachers and other adults will not hear their concerns and take them seriously.
Tips for a teacher dealing with bullying at school
Step 1: Immediately stop the bullying. This simply means separating the students involved. Do not attempt to discuss the situation right away because this will cause a he said/ she said type of blaming.
Step 2: Call it what it is. In a calm tone of voice, state what bullying behavior you saw and heard. Tell the students that bullying is unacceptable and against school rules. For example, “Name calling is bullying and against our school rules.”
Step 3: Ask to see the bullied child in private. You want to support the bullied child so that the feel secure and supported without the fear of retaliation.
Step 4: Talk to the bystanders. One of the best ways to stop bullying is to have children aware of bullying and them attempting to intervene and help the bullied child.
Step 5: Provide natural consequences for the bullies. Taking away social privileges, like recess or other social activities is appropriate action especially if the attack was physical.
Step 6: Don’t require that the two students work things out. Making a bully apologize will cause further retaliation in the future. In addition, this will cause the bullied child to feel even more uncomfortable about the situation.
Using these six steps is an excellent start for educators handling bullying in our schools. Taking steps to creating a non-bullying school culture can start racial positive changes within our schools.