Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rethinking Bullying VII

Work with Others

When Polyphemus was lured through conversation into drinking too much wine, the clever Odysseus came up with a plan to restrain the sleeping giant. This could not be accomplished without the aide of his comrades. The Greek sailors divided themselves on either side of Polyphemus and laid hold of his mighty ears so as to harness his massive head.
Another strategy that can be combined with the first is companionship. If a student is being bullied in a certain section of a school hallway, instead of going the long way around and being late for class, encourage him to walk with a few friends. The presence of friends can often dissuade the bully from harassing the intended victim. There is strength in numbers. Sadly, some students who are being bullied do not have friends they can count on to help in such situations. If you are able to accompany the student, do so . . . but from a distance. Your proximity sends a message to the perpetrator that bullying will not be tolerated. Work with other adults who may be able to go to locations where you cannot (i.e., the rest room, pool, athletic field, etc.). An adult presence greatly reduces bullying behavior.

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