What to do about a bully?
Bullying often starts when people pick on something about you that's different. It could be anything, how big you are, the color of your skin, or how you're doing at school.
Bullying situations involve an aggressor with a lot of power and a victim who feels helpless. Victims of bullying often feel that they have no way to resolve the issue because the bully is unwilling to solve problems through any means besides violence.
Victims can be chosen for their vulnerability, specific traits or simply at random. Some victims may think that resorting to violence is the only way to end the bullying situation, but it's not. There are many laws in Texas prohibiting bullying and bullying-type behaviors.
The National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center is a "one-stop shop" for information on youth violence prevention, including bullying, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other Federal agencies.
Check out the resources on their web site or call them at 1-866-SAFEYOUTH (1-866-723-3968). They can help you find out what you need to know about violence how to prevent it, and how it influences the decisions that you and other teens make.
What about a Bully at school?
Since 2005, every public school Student Code of Conduct must prohibit bullying, harassment and the making of hit lists as now defined by the Texas Education Code.
"Bullying" is legally defined as engaging in written or verbal expression or physical conduct that a school district board of trustees determines:
A parent may request that the victim of bullying be transferred to another classroom away from the bully, or another campus in the school district away from the bully. If the board of trustees verifies that a student has been a victim of bullying, there is no time limit to the transfer and no transportation is provided.
- will have the effect of physically harming a student, damaging a student's property, or placing a student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or of damage to the student's property; or
- is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive enough that the action or threat creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational environment for a student.
What about a cyber-bully?
You can have a lot of fun on the Internet and learn a whole lot, but you can also run into some bad people. A person who sends you threatening or hurtful emails is a cyber-bully. Tell your parents or other trusted, responsible adult. It's not your fault if you get a message like that.
Tell your parents or other trusted adult.
Blogging can get mean, too. It's easy to say something nasty when you don't have to see the other person's hurt expression face-to-face. If you post anything about anybody on the Internet, think hard about how it will make them feel and how YOU might feel if the post was about you and not by you.
In addition to being mean, cyber-bullying may be illegal. One way harassment is legally defined is "sending repeated electronic communications in a manner reasonably likely to harass, annoy, alarm, abuse, torment, embarrass, or offend another". So take action by reporting all messages that are threatening or hurtful.
How to deal with a bully
You and your friends can do a lot to stop bullying at your school.
- Report any type of bullying. Examples: Stealing, preventing you from using school facilities or going to class, physical attacks, repeated name calling, etc.
- Protect yourself and others. Examples: Follow rules and stay out of trouble, avoid gangs, walk to school with friends, be aware of your surroundings.
- Be cooperative and respectful. Examples: Encourage your parents to be active at your school, take friends home to meet your parents and spend time at your house, practice conflict resolution, etc.
If the situation feels like it's out of control, or if you think it may get violent, get adult help immediately!
When you witness bullying
Students can help victims of bullying by not tolerating this type of aggression. When you witness it, report it.
Do not participate in bullying. This means don't watch or encourage the bully. Go to the aid of the victim if it's safe to do so and report the incident to someone you trust like a parent, teacher or other adult.
Students and teachers can develop a school culture that does not allow bullying as a part of growing up. Breaking down stereotypes and cultural barriers will also help in creating a school where bullying will not be tolerated.