Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Rethinking Bullying IV

If you should witness bullying firsthand, it is important to stop it immediately if it is reasonably safe to do so. Physically stand in between the bully and the victim. Separate the two individuals and try to avoid letting the bully make eye contact with the victim. Most bullies are sneaky and like to avoid detection. Call a spade a spade. If you saw bullying occur, call the bully out. Identify what he or she did in a calm but firm voice.

Don’t try to have the bully apologize or shake hands or in any way make amends at that moment. Rather, allow the situation to deescalate and then address the issue at a later time. If necessary, administer immediate consequences to the bully and state any appropriate rules and policies against bullying behavior. Enable the victimized student to retain his or her dignity by not asking questions pertaining to the incident with other students present. Privacy is very important when assisting a student who is the target of bullying. Questioning the student while others are within earshot can further embarrass and traumatize the victim.

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