For bullies: Tattling hurts, telling helps
It was interesting to read this interview with author and activist Jodee Blanco who travels the country helping schools deal with bullies and the bullied. Having been a bullied child herself, she has a unique perspective on the issues. And she's especially wary of zero tolerance policies because the bullies know that the victim can't fight back because they'll both get in trouble.
"One of the things you should never say to a bullied child is ignore the bullies and walk away," she said in an interview with our colleague Jeff Solochek. "... because you're encouraging a child to ignore abuse. We don't do that in any other area of society, and we shouldn't do it with bullied kids either. It's also a mixed message. Because we tell victims of bullying, don't be a bystander. If you see someone being bullied, defend them. But then we turn around and say to the same kid, if you're being bullied, just ignore it."
So what do you tell them? She offers these three steps:
- Standing up for your dignity, nonviolently, using your words, is your human right.
- Tattling hurts and telling helps. "I explain to them that tattling is when you report an incident of bullying just to get the bully into trouble. And that's wrong. Telling is when you tell an adult about an incident of bullying because you want to help the bully and the victim, because both are hurting and both need support and help."
- Seek a brand new social outlet completely separate from school. "It will give you more confidence. It will give you something to look forward to." She notes that a new social activity and new friends diminishes their desperation for companionship and oftentimes their classmates will come around.
It's a lengthy interview with lots of good information to think about and well worth your time.
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