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Brittany Michael

Back to bullies, part 2

Here are some other strategies on how to handle bullies and encourage bystanders to stick up for one another ...

Those who witness bullying taking place need to realize they have a choice; stand by and watch a child get teased or stand up against the bully as a united group. Witnesses are those who understand the seriousness of the situation and care for the victim's wellbeing. Witnesses who intervene on the situation can have a powerful effect on the bully and his/her admiration from other students.

How can kids be witnesses? This can be done by gathering around the victim as a support system when he/she says "this isn't right and you need to stop." The bully will not want to go against a crowd who believes he/she is being mean to one of their friends; it puts the bully in the spotlight as being wrong and unadmirable to peers.

"Think of bullying as a three-legged stool propped up by the bully, the victim, and the audience. If any of the three legs is removed, the stool collapses." - Bullying Fundamentals, Kansas State University, 2005.

The witnesses can also intervene by bringing a nearby adult over to the situation so they can discipline the bully right away. Witnesses do not need to say a word, just serve as a supportive back-up system when the victim stands up for themselves. Uniting as a group can and will help to lessen the impact bullies have on the school.

Becoming involved as a witness can have its consequences as well. The witnesses could also be teased in the process. However, when you choose not to intervene the victim can become isolated and the bully once again gets away with their actions.

It is up to the schools and parents to help create an environment where witnesses can stick up for those being bullied in a non-violent way, ensuring bullies have to stop the harassment and the victim has the support of his/her peers.


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