Because of the amount of diversity in economic, racial, religious, and political backgrounds of the students and their families in any given school, friction between students, as both individuals and groups, occur regularly. This friction can lead to misunderstandings and fighting that school staff can quickly handle and clear up. Too often, conflict, for one reason or another, leads to long-term situations that make life at school more than stressful but almost unbearable.
Social media can make life after school also overbearing in negative ways for students who become targets of bullies. This can provide a platform for bullies that is almost impossible to stop after it gets going. However, this also makes it quite easy to prove the bullying behavior is occurring.
Victims of bullying might feel no one cares and wholeheartedly believe that reaching out for help will only result in more negative interactions. Ensuring that students know through signs, posters, public announcements, student newspaper banners and artwork, student assignments, and other venues can make it easier for students to reach out for help when they need someone on their side.
While your state’s laws and school regulations might differ from neighboring areas, the standard line in rules for bullying behavior is that it must not be permitted to continue when someone brings attention to it. It is crucial that you know and understand these and how they impact your school. Letting bullying behavior work itself out leads to too many tragedies when victims have no place to turn and decide suicide or other forms of self-harm is their only option to make the pain stop. Making sure they know they do have options that work is crucial to halting both bullying and the negative reactions that victims take to protect themselves.
Focusing on how students feel when targeted by another student can explain to your school’s student body what bullying feels. Empathy needs to be taught when individuals do not understand how their actions affect others – it is when they do not care that a problem might be more severe than initially assumed. COTAs who work with students can often detect these more subtle clues and provide this information to school counselors. Some bullies might only see their actions as funny while never thinking to put themselves in their victim’s shoes and stop their actions as soon as they are asked how their victims must feel.
Educating students and staff at your school about bullying in a creative way that engages students and keeps the worst bullies from tuning your message out might require assistants or advocates from the student body. At Therapia, we encourage our staff to always use every available resources in creative and new ways to reach as many of their clients in the most effective and profound ways possible.