As a bystander – someone watching bullying without taking part – you are exactly the audience a bully wants. So there are a number of things you can do if you witness a bullying situation or if you are aware of one which is ongoing:
- Don’t join in although the bully will try to make you – make up your own mind and be true to yourself;
- Use your voice to stop the bullying and let the bully know that what they are doing is wrong, stupid and mean – say something like “Cut it out”, “That’s not funny”, “How would you like it if someone did that to you?”
- Help the victim by moving towards or next to them or leading them away from the situation altogether;
- Walk away and tell a teacher or other adult – telling is not tattling as it is helping someone else, not getting them in trouble;
- Encourage other bystanders to walk away as a group;
- Believe the child being bullied and what they say;
- Befriend the victim and make sure they tell their parents or a teacher and offer to go with them if it will help;
- If the victim is reluctant to talk to anyone, offer to talk to someone in authority on their behalf;
- Involve as many people as possible, including other friends or classmates, parents, teachers, school counsellors and even the principal;
- Keep track of where bullying is taking place as adults in charge can then monitor these areas more closely;
- If your school has a bullying reporting programme, use the hotline or “bully box”;
- Do NOT use violence against bullies to try to get revenge on your own.
By speaking up and helping someone, the bully may try to come after you so be prepared for this and hold your ground – you already have adult support on your side.
Remember the Golden Rule: stand up for someone when they need it, and when you need it, someone will stand up for you!