Bullying at school
This section includes information relating to:
- If you are being bullied
- If you are bullying others
- Barry's story - an adult survivor of school bullying tells his story
- Information for parents
- Agencies which offer support, information, advice
- Useful websites
At the end of this section are listed some agencies who can give support, advice and information and some useful websites about bullying and how to deal with it.
If you are being bullied at school it is important to get as much support and help as you can. Please don't try and deal with this on your own - tell your parents, teachers, friends and keep telling until something is done to stop the bullying happening. You have the right to go to school and to feel safe and protected and your school has a duty to keep you safe and to ensure that any bullying is dealt with immediately.
- Try not to react to the bully. You may be frightened, angry, upset but try to ignore the bully, walk past, smile. Bullies will keep bullying as long as they get a reaction. If they don't get a reaction they will often give up as the fun has gone out of it for them.
- If you tell the bully to go away do so in a loud and firm voice and then walk away.
- Try and stay with a group of people as bullies are less likely to pick on you if you are with others.
- You may find it helps to increase your confidence and assertiveness by joining self defence classes.
- Keep a diary of any occasions that you are bullied, what happened, dates, times etc. and names of any witnesses to the bullying.
- Tell your teacher what is happening and tell your parents.
- If the bullying continues keep telling your teacher and parents what is happening. If the school does not ensure the bullying stops your parents should be able to help you by talking to your teacher and if necessary the Head Teacher.
- If you find you are unhappy at school and feel lonely think about how you could make friends outside school, maybe by joining some clubs, societies e.g. scouts, guides, police cadets, St.John's Ambulance, Red Cross etc. (you will find details of these organisations on the pages marked Loneliness).This will be a way of making new friends and enjoying yourself out of school.
- Remember that bullies are the ones with the problems - there is nothing wrong with you - bullies can pick on anyone for any reason. It may be you one day and someone else another day.
- Bullies often bully people through jealousy. Victims of bullying are often popular and good at their work so try not to allow the bullies to dent your confidence.
- If you are being bullied by a teacher (continually picked on, made fun off, etc.), you must tell another teacher what is happening and if it doesn't stop tell your parents.
- Remember - nobody has the right to bully you. You have the right to go to school and feel safe. Your school has a duty to ensure that bullying is not allowed to continue.
- If you keep quiet the bullying won't stop. Tell someone and keep telling someone until it stops. (check out Helplines and Websites at end of bullying pages)
- Have a think about why you are bullying others. Are you unhappy at home, do you find you can't control your anger, do you like controlling other people? There are helplines and counselling services you can talk to who will help you to deal with any problems you may have and help you to stop bullying others.
- Do you really want people to be frightened of you? Don't you want people to like you because you are a nice person and do things because they like you rather than doing what you want because they are scared stiff of you.
- How would you feel if someone was bullying you? How would you feel if you imagine yourself one day as a parent and your little boy/girl said they were being bullied?
- Bullying is a very cowardly thing to do - it is not clever and although it may make you look big to your friends because they may be laughing and joking about it - they are also doing that out of fear. Do you really want to be known for someone who does cowardly things and picks on other people?
- If you are bullying someone you really need to stop it NOW . What you are doing is nasty and unkind. You may not even realise how much you are upsetting the person or persons you are picking on.
SOME CHILDREN WHO ARE BULLIED ARE SO DISTRESSED AND UNHAPPY THAT THEY ACTUALLY COMMIT SUICIDE - TAKE THEIR OWN LIVES.
What may seem harmless and a bit of fun to you is taken very seriously by the person or persons you are bullying. If you do not find help for yourself and stop what you are doing it is likely that you will grow into adulthood bullying others and intimidating others. You should want to be liked for you, for the person you are, not through fear and intimidation of other people.
If you are being bullied it can be extremely distressing and can have an enormous impact on your life. Barry from Ilford was bullied relentlessly when he was at school. Here he tells his story in the hope that it might help others who are being bullied to speak out.
'I am writing as one who suffered constantly at the hands of school bullies from the age of 8 until 16. The type of bullying I endured caused me to suffer panic attacks which in turn led to a fear of feeling sick and travelling far from home. I was bullied while having these panic attacks and was unable to tell anyone, even my parents, for fear of the bullies finding out and then the bullying and the panic attacks would get worse.
The bullying and the resulting phobia has deprived me of a social life for a very long time. I've longed so much to have friends, go on holiday, realise ambitions close to my heart and experience sharing with others all the joys life has to offer. The bullying I suffered has forced me to live the lifestyle of a loner. Not telling anyone when I was being bullied has therefore not only made my school life a total misery from ages 8 to 16 it has affected me ever since, depriving me of achieving so much and frustrating everything I live for. Add to this, of course, that the most important thing a victim of bullying could do and should do is to tell a reliable person in confidence, somebody who could have a positive effect on the situation. If only I had the courage to tell things would be so different now'.
My experiences of bullying
'I was bullied a lot when I was at school. It started when I was 5 years old but really got bad when I moved house with my parents when I was 8. When I started my new school two boys picked on me and stopped me playing with friends by trapping me in a small gap behind a hut in the playground. Every time I wanted to get out they kept barring my way and this happened nearly every playtime. It was horrible being trapped. To stop the bullies catching me I had to try and make my way to be with my friends very quickly as soon as the bell went for playtime but the bullies nearly always caught me and cornered me behind the hut. This carried on for a very long time and I became very frightened of being trapped in small spaces like behind the hut and afraid of travelling in a car even with my parents. I also became afraid of feeling sick and being sick and going far from home - all as a result of being bullied. I've missed out on such a lot of fun, friends, parties, holidays, all the things that mean so much. Throughout the whole time I didn't tell anybody about the bullying or about my fears in case the bullies found out and the bullying got worse. I now wish I would have told my family or teacher or a friend - the bullying would have stopped and I would have got rid of all that unhappiness It is not just the bullying that's bad but also the effect it can have on your life during the time you are bullied and also after the bullying stops. By keeping it to yourself you are letting the bully think it is alright to carry on bullying you and you could also miss out on so many happy times.
So, remember this saying:
'Tell teacher, family or friend
And make the bullying end.'
(the above has been included on this website with Barry's permission)
(devised by Barry from Ilford)
- Each child should realise each has feelings just the same as the other.
- Each child should realise the importance of caring, respecting others' happiness, possessions, peace of mind, welfare and appreciating how these things are precious.
- Each child should be looked upon by others as one who is loved and cared for by someone else - each is either a son or a daughter and perhaps a brother or sister, boyfriend or girlfriend - a loved one very special and extremely precious.
- Each child should appreciate that each is just as important as the other.
- Each child has the right to happiness and peace of mind while at school and travelling to and from school.
- Bullies should imagine how their behaviour could evolve in later life: what kind of adult/parent would they develop into: what would their children be like: how can they change, improve; how do they see the behaviour of others in the world around them - for example in their family, friends, on television - how would they imagine these people to be when they were at school.
- Bullies are those who do unkind things - there must be something negative in their lives which makes them behave this way; bullies should consider 'What has made me what I am?' - family backgrounds, friends, unpleasant experiences, other influences etc.
- Bullying is a destructive energy - bullies should have these negative energies channelled into something more constructive.
- Each child should be encouraged to identify and report any safety hazard which could affect not only themselves but also others. Staff should also be encouraged to do the same.
- Parents have the right to happiness and peace of mind concerning their children while their children are at school and travelling to and from school.
- If your child is being bullied he/she may be reluctant to tell you. Watch out for any signs of change of behaviour in your child - becoming withdrawn, depressed, not wanting to go to school, bed wetting, outburst of anger, feeling ill etc. If you feel your child is being bullied then talk to them about school, are they making friends, is anything upsetting them, are they being bullied.
- If your child tells you they are being bullied please take it seriously - some parents don't and this can lead to your child feeling even more isolated and alone.
- Encourage your child to keep a diary of all incidents.
- Talk to your child about how to be assertive and the difference between assertiveness and aggression.
- Encourage your child to tell their teacher.
- Encourage your child to form friendships out of school.
- Give your child time and space to talk to you about how the bullying is making his/her feel.
- Give your child a lot of reassurance and love that there is nothing wrong with them - the bullies will pick on anyone for any reason.
- Check whether the bullying has stopped and if it hasn't suggest to your child that you speak to the teacher and ask the school for a copy of their Anti Bullying Policy.
- If the bullying still doesn't stop make an appointment to see the Head Teacher.
- All schools should take bullying seriously but unfortunately many schools deny the very existence of bullying in their school. Be persistent if the bullying does not stop ask for the name and address of the Chairman of the School Governors. The school should give you this information but if they don't or are difficult about it then ask the Education Authority.
- If the bullying continues you can then contact the Director of Education at the Education Authority.
- If your child is too distressed to go to school ask your GP for a sick note and you may need to keep your child away from school for the duration of the sick note during which time hopefully the situation will have been sorted out. If it isn't you may need to consider either changing schools or having your child educated at home.
Childline: 0800 1111, www.childline.org.uk - Free national helpline for children and young people in danger and distress. Also booklets on bullying
Kidscape Campaign for Children's Safety:
Parents Advice Line 020 7823 5430
Admin 020 7730 3300
Telephone helpline providing support for parents and produce free parents guides on issues relating to bullying. Also run one day courses for children who have been severely bullied.
Education Otherwise Association Ltd. , www.education-otherwise.net - Telephone information and support for families who wish to educate their children outside school
Advisory Centre for Education
Helpline offering advice on special education needs, exclusions, admissions, bullying
www.antibullying.net – Established by the Scottish Executive for parents, teachers and young people
One of the largest pro equality and anti bullying charities in the world. Promotes equality and empowering people aged 12-25 to overcome bullying.
Self esteem project improving self esteem of girls and young women includes information on friends and relationships, teasing and bullying, growing up and body image, improving self esteem.
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