Playground statistics - Every 7 minutes a child is bullied.
Adult intervention - 4%. Peer intervention - 11%. No intervention -
Most Recent Bureau of Justice Statistics - School Crime
- 1/3 of students in grades 9-12 reported that someone sold or offered them
an illegal drug on school property.
- 46% of males, and 26% of females reported they had been in physical
- Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those
in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent
crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.
- Teachers are also assaulted, robbed & bullied. 84 crimes per 1,000
teachers per year.
ARE CERTAIN CHILDREN MORE LIKELY TO BE
Victims are usually loners. Children who appear to be friendless
can be magnets for bullies. Many times it's how kids carry themselves. The
bullies pick up on that. They also might pick on children who are different
- mental or physical handicaps. Girls in cliques will pick on you simply
because you don't wear your hair or clothes they way they see fit to be cool.
(Insults, Gossip, Rejection, Spreading Rumors) Sometimes there is "no reason"
why a bully picks a certain kid to pick on. But, the bullying leaves the
victims believing there is something wrong with themselves. The result: More
self-esteem has been shattered.
(Everyone has been bullied to some degree, whether mentally or
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP YOUR
You *know* there is a problem. The first step is to get your child
to admit there is a problem. He/she may be too embarrassed or scared, and
might deny it. They need to know they can trust you and look to you for help.
(Encourage them) First give them this option: They might want to settle the
situation themselves before getting you involved (you calling the school
or bully's parents). You might try giving them some ideas. For example: If
your child is getting bullied because of poor social skills - his shoes are
always untied, he walks with his head down, shoulders slouched, avoids eye
contact, shirt half tucked in, unclean hair or body, always biting nails
or picking nose - You can help him/her by teaching them better social skills.
You also might try a type of role-playing to see how your child acts around
other kids. This gives you the opportunity to help your child work out acceptable
responses. (especially if he/she is being bullied verbally)
SHOULD THE SCHOOL CONTACT THE BULLY'S
The school should first try to settle the matter since it occurred
on their grounds while the children were their responsibility. But, unfortunately
there are some schools who don't want to get involved outside of teaching
the children. Many parents have written to me about school's/administrators
who simply disregarded their bully incidents. Many parents are now seeking
On the other side - there are teachers/schools who contact the parents
to address the problem, but the parents are in
denial that their child could ever be a "bully," they don't believe it, and point
a finger at the teacher accusing him/her of picking on their child.
Everyone needs to work together on solving these problems.
WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO TO HELP STOP BULLIES &
It's all about talking it out: Child to Child (Peer Mediation), Teacher
to Parent (PTO's, PTA's), Teacher to Teacher (in service days), Parent to
Child (at home). There should be town meetings involving the parents, students,
and entire school faculty to discuss Conflict Resolution. The teachers should
also allow the students to give "their" ideas on how they would like situations
handled. For younger students, role playing of "victims" and "bullies" in
the classroom will help them understand the cause and effect - how it feels.
Another idea for younger kids getting picked on could be to have an older
student assigned as a type of mentor that he could talk to, and who would
step in to settle a conflict or dispute. Groups have also been created where
victims and their parents can meet with other victims and discuss solutions.
It's comforting to know you're not alone, and friendships can be made
Many schools admit that the lockers are the most common place that
bullying takes place. Teachers could take turns standing by these lockers
during class changes.
The schools can also pass out questionnaires, and do surveys or polls
to find out what students and parents think about what is happening and what
they would like to see done. Some teachers have told me that their schools
put up a peace flag outside on days when there is no conflict in the school.
This promotes a pride in the school, and teaches them that even one person's
actions can have consequences that affect everyone. Other schools are
using posters, and having the students wear certain colors on certain
Teachers are also using, "Taking the Bully by the Horns" for role
playing in the classrooms. Since I believe in my book, and the help it's
been giving children, I suggest reading it aloud to the group. The
book is written in first person, so you will be addressing them, and speaking
directly to them. This way, you can teach them the skills they need to handle
bullies and feel good about themselves (self-esteem/life skills). I ask questions
in the book, and you can pause to get their opinions. I also added a bit
of humor so it will be enjoyable for them AND they will learn something.
Then, you could try some role playing, where they take turns acting out
situations where they play both bullies and victims. This will show them
how it "feels" and give them ideas on what to do to help themselves and
Our local schools participated in Berks County's Annual Week Without
Violence. One program included, "Hands Around Violence." Students made paper
cutouts of their hand prints and wrote nonviolent messages on them.
For example, "I will not use my hands or words for hurting." The
"Pledge Hands" will serve as a visual reminder that together they can make
Other activities included a white out, where students wore as much
white as possible to symbolize peace, a unity day, where students wore their
school colors, and a smile day, where each student received a smile card
and handed that card over to the first person to smile at them.
Another great idea schools are using is to have teachers hold up
pictures of kids faces while asking the students, "How does this person feel?"
This promotes a discussion aimed at helping kids to identify and describe
emotions. And for teens, pictures of conflicts or stressful situations can
be used to promote discussion & ideas for
Let kids know it's OK to talk about problems; that parents and teachers
are willing to listen, and eager to help. Also, if your kids/students are
"bystanders" to their friends, or other kids being bullied, tell them how
important it is for them to help these kids by reporting it. If they are
afraid, they can use an anonymous tip, or tell the teachers not to use their
name when confronting the bully.
The anonymous tip was only suggested for those victims who feared
revenge from the bully in the form of physical abuse for their "snitching."
Yes, in many cases the name of the victim would have to be given in order
for the conflict to be directly approached. A bully being accused of attacking
a "nameless" child might try to talk his way out of it. But if a name is
used in relating to a particular incident with a specific child, and if there
was proof, or witnesses, it's harder to deny.
ADVICE FOR PARENTS OF BOTH VICTIMS &
Parents really need to get more involved in their children's lives.
That way they will be more sensitive to problems occurring. Promote honesty.
Ask questions. Listen with an open mind and focus on understanding. Allow
children to express how they feel, and treat a child's feelings with respect.
Set a good example by showing them a healthy temperament. Settle conflicts
by talking things out peacefully. Congratulate or reward them when you see
them using these positive skills to settle a difference. Teach them to identify
"the problem", and focus on the problem, "not" attacking "the person." Tell
them conflicts are a way of life, but violence doesn't have to be. And finally,
teaching them to take responsibility for their own actions will make for
a healthier child, a healthier self-esteem, and there will be no need for
any "bullies" or "victims" in the world.
A LOT OF PARENTS HAVE BEEN ASKING ME WHAT TO
DO ABOUT "BUS BULLIES!"
There are many different things that could be tried in this
situation. Ideas for what your kids can do include three options:
They should be used in that order except if the bullies are physically
violent, then "avoid" is the safest choice.
There are many things your child could say back to the bullies:
"Name calling isn't cool"
"I don't want to fight. Can't we be friends instead?"
"Why are you mad at me? I never hurt you."
Bullies usually like the effect they get when they shock or hurt
someone. Maybe if your child just laughed it off, like they are joking, they
would get tired of calling him/her names and it wouldn't seem fun (or effective)
If it keeps up, and nothing your child says helps, and ignoring and
avoiding don't work AND the school won't get involved, then you will have
to contact the parents of the "name callers."
Bullies don't always have a reason for who they pick on or why, but
when they *do* have a reason, it usually results in them singling out a smaller
person. This would include kids who are not as tall, and most definitely
would include younger kids, who obviously would be smaller. This makes you
easier to control. And today there are a lot of cases of older kids picking
on younger kids on the school buses.
In those cases, I recommend sitting far away from the bully. If the
seats are assigned, ask to have them changed. If they are not assigned, ask
to have them assigned. If that doesn't work, inform the school and ask the
bus driver to get involved. Some bus drivers are asked by the school to
intervene. They do this by having the trouble kids sit up front where they
can keep a good eye on them in the mirror. However, the bus driver has a
job to do which requires the safety of many lives, so if the bullying gets
so bad that he/she has to keep turning around or yelling at kids all the
time, the perpetrators should be suspended from the bus for the safety of
FOR TEACHERS & PARENTS OF BULLIES - SOME
USEFUL QUESTIONS TO ASK:
- What did you do?
- Why was that a bad thing to do?
- Who did you hurt?
- What were you trying to accomplish?
- Next time you have that goal, how will you meet it without hurting
- How will you help the person you hurt?
These questions will help them to: Acknowledge their own actions
and the consequences they have on themselves and others, develop shame and
guilt ("I don't want to go through that again" & "I hurt someone"), change
their actions to stay out of trouble, and learn to trust and form relationships
with helping adults.
you'd like to order a copy of "Taking the Bully by the Horns" by Kathy Noll
& Dr. Carter, to teach your children/students the skills they need to
handle BULLIES, and improve SELF-ESTEEM, please click
Be sure to read Kathy Noll's chat July 8, 1998, August 2000's featured live chat from the Teachers.Net Archive!