4.5 Respond during a bullying incident
Thirteen million American kids will be bullied this year. You are not alone. We are here to help. If you are being bullied, the strategies below can help you. If you’re in North Carolina, you can also contact Safe Schools NC by filling out their harassment form.
- Remember that you are not doing anything wrong by being yourself. The bully is acting disrespectfully and illegally. You do not need to change so that you can have a safe school. The bully must change.
- Do not fight back with your fists, threats, or curse words. Getting expelled won’t help you in the long run. While Safe Schools NC empowers you to stand up for yourself, never do anything that could get you into trouble.
- Try to stay calm. Bullies usually want to get their targets to react somehow—by acting scared, crying, or losing their temper—so they can feel powerful. Remaining calm can be difficult, especially if you are an expressive person, but giving the bullies what they want will lead to them doing it again.
- Defuse the situation with humor. Read the situation. Does the person realize how bigoted they sound? Use a laugh to let them know they aren’t getting to you.
- Put the bully on camera. Cameras are everywhere today so use them to your advantage. Point out the security cameras to the bully. If you don’t have a camera on your phone, show the bully the blue domes on the ceiling; those are your school’s cameras. Later, follow-up by telling the school’s Security Resource Officer (SRO) or a trusted teacher about the time of the event.
- Afterwards, report bullying. Your teachers and principals want all students to have a great school life but often they do not know what’s going on. You’ve got to tell them. Reporting bullying sometimes feels like tattling, but it isn’t. You are standing up for yourself. Making a report also isn’t something usually talked about, so we describe the steps for you in the Report Bullying section. If the school administration needs a little push in the right direction, contact Safe Schools NC through our Reporting Harassment system and we will help you through the steps.
- Next: Prevent future bullying