There are things you can do if you are having problems with other students, but one of the most important things to know is: Are you being bullied? Remember that bullying is defined by the acronym POP:
P Purposeful (It is done on purpose, not kidding or joking)
O Over Time (The behaviors are repeated more than once; a predictable pattern is established)
P Power Imbalance (One student has an advantage over another in size, age, popularity, etc.)
If you think you are being bullied, don’t suffer in silence. There are several things you can do to help yourself!
- REPORT BULLYING TO AN ADULT AT SCHOOL IMMEDIATELY! You can do this by privately talking to a teacher after class, writing a note to the SRO, excusing yourself to the restroom and reporting directly to the Office, or having a discussion with a staff member you trust about what is happening. It is important to let the teacher know so it can be handled in the classroom. You can also let the Principal, Counselor or the SRO know if your teacher is absent.
- MAKE A PLAN Look at the kid bullying you and tell him/her to stop in a calm, clear voice. If joking around is easy for you, you might try laughing it off without reacting negatively (this could catch the bully off guard). If speaking up feels too hard, is hurtful, or unsafe, walk away and stay away. Don’t fight back. Find an adult (any staff member) to help you. Everyone has a different comfort level when it comes to dealing with a bully. Finding what works for you can give you confidence (bullies hate confidence!). Be a friend to someone you see being bullied. Pledge never to be a bystander to bullying.
- DOCUMENT ALL EPISODES OF BULLYING IN A JOURNAL This will help you to remember when it happens and give you practice identifying when you are dealing with a bullying situation. Remember to document: When (date/time), Where (class/location), Who (bullied/witnesses), What Happened, and The Person You Told. Example: September 2, 2013, Miss Smith’s Room. John Doe punched me in the arm and called me "stupid." He told me he would be waiting for me in the locker room later. Ed Jones heard him. I told Miss Smith at the end of class. She told me she would handle it.
- TALK TO AN ADULT YOU TRUST Don’t keep your feelings inside. Telling someone can help you feel less alone and provide you with support while the school handles the issue. Make sure there is at least one adult in the school that you feel comfortable talking to. If there isn’t, ask your Counselor to match you with someone who will be there for you as long as you are a student here!
- DON’T GIVE UP! Try to be patient. Change may not happen overnight, but it will happen!