Last week we began our workshop on bullying by examining one of the first rules to remember when dealing with bullying: when a person is being bullied, it is not that person’s (the victim’s) fault. Of course, if I bully someone, and they bully me back, than I may have brought that bullying on myself, but our students wouldn't bully another person, and I strongly believe that no one deserves to be bullied. There are many reasons why one person may bully another: the person doing the bullying may be having a bad day, going through a rough time, being bullied themselves, they may be jealous of the victim, they may bully as many people as they can, etc.
The point is, that while bullying can be very painful, we hope that to make it less painful by helping students to understand that it doesn't mean that something is wrong with them (if they are being bullied). I feel like this is a message that people need to hear a great deal before they fully believe and internalize it.
Another rule that we have been discussing is that we should always report bullying when we see it, whether we are the victims or observers. Reporting bullying to adults is not tattling; it is our duty. This is another message that we will constantly be repeating to help the students fully grasp the concept.
One of our students proposed the idea of telling a person who is bullying, “I don’t want you to get into trouble, but if you continue I will have to report this. Let’s talk about something else.”
Rather than threatening the person doing the bullying, this student came off sounding like a friend to that person, looking out for them. I thought it was a very clever approach.
We will be discussing more ideas and strategies for dealing with bullying over the next several weeks!