Bullying & Bystanders

Introduction |  Types of Bullying | Bullying & Bystanders | I Am Being Bullied… What Can I do?


Do You Bully?

Do you think others might see your behaviour as bullying? Do you:

 • hurt others on a regular basis?
 • often boss other people and expect them to do as you say?
 • join in with other students when you see them bullying another student?
 • laugh when people get hurt?
 • blame other people if you hurt someone?
 • say sorry but not really mean it?
 • feel good when someone is afraid of you?

If you answered YES to many of these questions, then the answer is probably yes.  It’s important that you think seriously about how your words and actions affect others. Bullying can be very hurtful and damaging to the victims, however it’s never too late to change your behaviour.

The reality is no one is best friends with everyone they go to school with. There will always be students you don’t get along perfectly with, who get on your nerves or with whom you have little in common with. However, there are ways to interact peacefully and respectfully with these people.

If you are about to bully someone, try to stop and think how you would feel if you were them. Even if this person has done something to make you upset or angry, bullying is not the solution. Take a deep breath, tell them that you don’t like what they are doing, walk away or get a teacher/parent to help you.

Getting Help To Stop Your Bullying Behaviour

It’s never too late to try and change your behaviour and stop bullying. Adults understand that there’s always a reason behind bullying. While this doesn’t make bullying okay, we know that students bully others because they are not feeling good about themselves or because they are having trouble dealing with something painful in their lives.  Kids will often use bullying as a way to get attention and feel accepted. The bullying makes people notice them and gives them a sense of power. But there are much better ways to gain acceptance and respect from others – without hurting anyone!

If you are bullying because you are feeling sad, angry, misunderstood or hurt, you NEED TO GET HELP. Treating others meanly won’t make your problems go away and it won’t help you feel better in the long run.  If you continue to bully, you will loose many friends overtime as they begin to recognize that your treatment of others is not something they want to be a part of.

Find an adult that you trust to discuss your problems and your behaviour. Together you can work on strategies for dealing with your feelings and feeling accepted without being a bully.


Are You A Helpful Bystander?
To see where you stand, take the following survey (click here). Discuss your answers with a trusted adult. Talk about ways you can be a helpful bystander next time you see someone being bullied.

When You See or Hear Someone Being Bullied, What Do You Do?


 • Do you join in?  • Do you walk away?
 • Do you try and help the person being bullied?  • Do you tell those bullying to stop?
 • Do you get an adult for help?  • Are you afraid to get involved

Bystanders have an important role to play in stopping bullying. Often kids bully to get attention and so they will bully when there are other students around. They will often bully in front of other students to get them to like them or to feel powerful. When we stand up to those who bully, help those being bullied or get the help of an adult, we send the message to those bullying that we don’t like their behaviour.

If you see someone else being bullied, don’t join in. Always try and think of how you would feel if you were in that person’s situation. Instead tell those bullying that you don’t think what they are doing is funny or nice, invite those being bullied to join you and walk away from those bullying, or if the situation becomes very serious ask an adult for help.  If other students take a stand and help the person being bullied, these bullying are more likely to stop their hurtful behaviour. Once there is no longer someone to bully or an audience giving her or him attention, they will eventually stop bullying.  If you have tried to stand up for another student who is being bullied and the bullying is continuing or getting worse, you need to get the help of a trusted adult.

If you have a friend who bullies, talk to them about their behaviour and how you don’t like it. Offer to help them change their ways. Find a trusted adult they could speak with and offer to join your friend when he or she speaks with this adult.

The truth is that bullying will never stop if no one stands up to those who bully, tries to help those being bullied or goes to an adult for help. If you go to an adult and they don’t believe you, find another adult you trust. Promise you will keep looking and asking for help until you find it. We spoke to students your age and almost half believed there was bullying going on in their school! Many students watch as others are being repeatedly bullied and would like to help but are afraid to get involved. They are afraid one of the following things may happen:

 • the bully will come after them
 • the bullying will get more violent
 • everyone will hate them for “ratting”
 • nobody can stop the bully
 • nobody ever listens to them or believes what they say
 • they will get in trouble or be blamed if they ask for help
 • there is no hope of ever getting the bully to stop

If you see someone being bullied and you’re afraid to step in, you can still help while staying safe

 • Tell your parents or another adult you trust
 • Tell an older student – ask them to report the incident to the proper authority
 • Write down exactly what happened and give the information directly to your teacher, principal, parent or another adult you trust – this information should not be shared with friends or classmates
 • If you are too afraid to speak with someone directly, you can report violent incidents without giving your name by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800- 222-TIPS

There I A Big Difference Between Ratting and Reporting

Most school playgrounds have unspoken “rules” about going to an adult for help. These rules aren’t written down anywhere, but most kids know that if you go to an adult you will be seen as a “snitch”, “tattletale” or “rat”. Who benefits from these rules? Kids who bully, of course! They want their behaviour to go unreported. They rely on these “rules” to stop you from telling.

There is a big difference between reporting and ratting or tattletaling. When students tattletale, they are often just trying to get someone in trouble and not looking to solve a problem or help a victim. But when students report, they know they need adult help to solve a problem and are looking for help to make sure that everyone at school is safe. When you report it’s to make the bulling stop, not get those bullying in trouble.

If you see bullying taking place, you might need to support the person being bullied in reporting or report the bullying yourself. You might be afraid, but having the courage to report bullying means you’ve taken your power back from those bullying. Keep telling adults you trust until something is done about it.

Educate your friends. Make a poster to show the difference between ratting and reporting. Ask your teacher if you can share it with the class or over the announcements. The more people know that it is okay to report bullying, the less bullying will occur.

Advice From Other Kids

Kids have great ideas for dealing with bullying. When we asked “What would you do about bullying?”, they said the following:

 • I would tell the bullies to cut it out because it is not cool.
 • I would back up the victims so they feel people are on their side.
 • I will try to help people who are weak and don’t have friends.
 • I’d make friends with the bullies and the victims so neither feels excluded or left out. Then I would be an example for everyone. By doing this, it would cut down on a lot of bad experiences.
 • If you want respect, you have to give respect.
 • Violence doesn’t solve anything.
 • Violence is ignorance.
 • People should learn that everyone is different.
 • If I had power, I would make sure our school is safe for everyone because a school is supposed to be a safe and fun place to learn.
 • I would help out some of the victims I see that are getting bullied. I would back them up so they will feel confident that there are people on their side.
 • I think students need to know what the consequences of their actions are.
 • Easy targets get picked on because they are alone or do not have friends and the bullies see this. I would talk to them even if it were just to say hi.

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