Bullying in school seems to be a problem that is on the rise. While this may have to do with the self esteem issues of the people doing the bullying more than the person being bullied themselves, it is still a problem that needs to be addressed and one that schools all over the world have to recognize.
Preventing bullying is something that every student, teacher, and parent should be involved in and work hard at to make sure anyone attending school feels safe and comfortable.
Through various studies it has been estimated that approximately one out of every sixteen students have been bullied every school term. This sad fact means that for every classroom there is at least one student who is being bullied by others.
While many cases of bullying go unrecorded and even unrecognized by anyone other than the bullies and people being bullied, there are other cases that are more publicized, and even some that have lead to suicide. These unfortunate events have even lead to a new term known as Bullycide, which is used to describe a suicide in which the person took their life because of the bullying that was part of their life.
A recent case is that of Phoebe Prince, a 15 year old who hung herself at the beginning of this year as a result of the bullying she encountered at her western Massachusetts high school during her freshman year. It was her case which led the state legislature to pass some stringent anti-bullying bills, which is something that every state, and even the federal government, needs to consider. Nine of her tormentors are now facing criminal charges that include stalking, criminal harassment, and even statutory rape.
While this is only one example of the tragedy that is brought on by bullying, the question of how to prevent bullying in school remains. The first step in prevention is being aware of some of the signs that a child is being bullied.
Signs Of Bullying You Need to Look Out For
- Child shows signs of being afraid to walk to or walk home from school
- A child pleads to be driven to school
- Signs of being anxious or withdrawn as well as a lack of confidence
- Frequently waking up feeling sick
- Constantly asking for money or starts to steal money as this could mean they are giving it to the bully
- Doesn’t want to ride the school bus
- School work begins to suffer
- Coming home with damaged or missing property or torn clothes
- Unexplained bruises or cuts
While these are some classic signs of bullying, there could be other signs as well. The main thing is to notice any change in the child’s behavior and the way they feel about school related topics. Now that there are some signs that can indicate something is wrong, the next step is what people can do to prevent bullying. While these tips may be helpful, the main thing that will aid in the prevention of bullying is having teachers, students, and parents be prepared with the knowledge and tools to prevent bullying before it happens to your or anyone else’s kid.
Tips To Prevent Bullying in Schools
- Setting up an anti-bullying program and teaching kids the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behavior. What a bully is and forms of bullying should be addressed. There should be discussion about both the physical and mental aspects of bullying, such as threatening, teasing, racial slurs, and theft.
- Role playing with students. Having students play the role of both the bully and the victim can help them in understanding the feelings associated with both sides and can help in the prevention of bullying.
- Teach acceptance and tolerance of different religions and cultures. When a child is not understood by others, it may make some students uncomfortable and lead to them being bullied. It is imperative that students come to the realization that just because someone is different they should not be treated with any less dignity or respect.
- Prevention starts at home. Get parents as involved as possible with any form of bullying education and material that is available and make them realize that the way they act at home can influence the way their child treats others.
Tips For Parents to Prevent Their Child From Being Bullied
- Try to have the child avoid contact with the bully. Have them play in a different area or in a space that is supervised.
- Don’t encourage fighting back, as this could lead to physical injury and more abuse.
- Have your child be ready to report any bullying activity to someone at the school who they trust.
- Ignore the bully and don’t let them know what they are doing is having any effect on you. If the bullying continues, have them report the problem to a school official.
The prevention of bullying in school is something we all must take seriously and try to put an end to. Teachers need to listen to students, just as parents need to be pro-active, and students need to band together to help and stick up for one another. Only by working together can we truly prevent bullying in school.