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National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month: Responding to Bullying
The sixth part in our National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month series will focus on how to stop bullying when it is spotted and how to proceed afterwards. Knowing what to do when witnessing a bullying situation is just an important as knowing how too proceed once a bully has been stopped or if a child reaches out for help.
A Preface to How to Stop Bullying and What to do After
Just as there are right and wrong ways to handle most situations in life, there is also a correct way to stop a bullying situation just as there are common mistakes that should be avoided. This part in our series seeks to arm adults with the knowledge with how to intervene and end a bullying situation if they happen to witness one.
As for how too procced after having witnessed a bullying situation, or if a child has come forward for help, the first thing that should occur is to find out what actually happen. Getting all the facts will allow an adult to determine if the situation in question is indeed one that involves a bully.
It is also important to note that it is more than just who started the altercation. Bullying should never be excused, but at times children may have been provoked into a situation that is not in fact one that could be labeled as bullying. Finding out the truth of a situation before labeling it as bullying will help reduce any errors in identification.
How to Stop a Bullying Situation
According to stopbullying.gov, should do the following to end a bullying situation they come across:
Intervene in the situation instantly. If the situation persists, then seek help from other nearby adults.
Ensure that everyone in the situation is safe and that the children have been separated to avoid further conflict.
Check to see if there are any medical concerns that need to be addressed.
Keep a level head. Reassure any children involved, even if they were just bystanders.
Ensure that you are respectful to all children involved throughout the entirety of the situation.
The following should be avoided by adults trying to end a bullying situation:
Do not ignore a situation if you see it.
Do not try to get the facts right away.
Do not force children that were bystanders to report what they saw in front of their peers.
Do not begin to question the children involved in front of their peers. Question them individually in a safe, private location.
Do not try to mediate and resolve the situation directly after it occurs.
As with any other situation if there is a weapon, threat of physical injury, or any type of sexual or physical abuse, then police assistance of medical attention should be sought immediately.
How to Keep Avenues for Communication Open
According to stopbullying.gov, adults should respond to a bullying situation in the following ways:
Discover the truth of the situation. Try to find out the facts of the situation from all witnesses (via students and other adults) and avoid labeling the situation as “bullying” until you are sure of what occurred.
Determine whether or not it was bullying. Try to understand the situation by the entirety of its context before you reach a verdict. Try find out the history between the children involved, try to figure out if there is a power imbalance between the children, find out if this is a repeat occurrence, find out if the children involved were in a relationship, and try and find out if either of the children are tied to a gang.
If the situation is identified as bullying, then the situation should be reported and an adult should see what further guidelines are provided by their school for how to deal with such a situation.