4.6 Prevent future bullying
Being the target of regular bullying can be extremely painful and demoralizing. Remember that you are not doing anything wrong by being yourself. The bully is acting disrespectfully and illegally. Until the school intervenes or the bully matures, there are things you can do to improve your situation.
- Join the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA).
- Cultivate your power through solidarity with like-minded students. GSA members often know more about bullying than most kids and can support you in your struggles. Because GSA is for everyone, you will be welcome regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity and do not have to tell people if you are LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning) or not. If your school does not have a GSA, read our suggestions for starting one.
- Find the school’s security cameras.
- Most schools have security cameras (usually in blue domes on the ceiling). Learn where they are located and walk in those areas as much as possible. Some buses also have them.
- Map out the unsafe areas of your school.
- Find alternative routes, especially with the security cameras, and avoid the trouble areas as much as possible.
- Buddy System
- Find friends or classmates to walk with during the times that you are most likely to be bullied. At Queen Creek High School in Arizona, the football team escorted a disabled girl after her mother asked the quarterback to help stop her daughter’s bullies. The bullying stopped, and the football team has a new fan.
- Report the harassment.
- Telling a teacher or principal is key to getting repeated bullying to stop. Report bullying describes the reporting process but talking to a trusted adult—your parents or guardian, a safe teacher, a guidance counselor—about what is going on is important. If you don’t know who to talk to, ask a friend or close classmate or contact Safe Schools NC (if you live in North Carolina) through their Reporting Harassment system. They will respond and talk you through the process.
- Practice what to say and how to hold your body in case of future bullying.
- Bullies usually want to get their targets to react somehow—by acting scared, crying, or losing their temper. Sometimes they like to see the response; other times, being able to get you to respond makes them feel powerful. Remaining calm can be difficult, especially if you are an emotional person, but giving the bullies what they want will lead to them doing it again. Guided visualization may help with this. Remember, you are a strong person.
- The problem is, we don’t always know when we look afraid. Practice the following things in front of a mirror, a recorder, or friends so that it becomes second nature:
- calm faces (and fearful faces so you can feel the difference)
- one liner comebacks such as “cut it out,” “whatever,” or “thanks for sharing”
- strong body posture (eye contact, stand tall with shoulders back)
- steady voice
- Next: Report bullying