BUSTER: Ideas that help stop a bully.
B-Befriend the Victim
Bystanders often don’t intervene because they don’t want to make things worse or assume the victim doesn’t want help. If witnesses know a victim feels upset or wants help they are more likely to step in. And if you befriend a victim, you’re also more likely to get others to join your cause.
Show comfort: Stand closer to the victim.
Wave other peers over: “Come help!”
Ask if the victim wants support: “Do you need help?”
Empathize: “I bet he feels sad.”
Clarify feelings: “He looks upset.”
U-Use a Distraction
The right diversion can draw peers from the scene, make them focus elsewhere, give the target a chance to get away, and may get the bully to move on. Remember, a bully wants an audience, so reduce it with a distraction. Ploys include:
A question: “What are you all doing here?”
A diversion: “There’s a great volleyball game going on! Come on!”
A false excuse: “A teacher is coming!”
An interruption: “I can’t find my bus.”
S-Speak Out and Stand Up!
Speaking out can get others to lend a hand and join you. You must stay cool, and never boo, clap, laugh, or insult, which could egg the bully on even more. Stress that directly confronting a bully is intimidating and it’s a rare kid who can, but there are ways to still stand up to cruelty.
Show disapproval: Give a cold, silent stare.
Name it: “That’s bullying!”
Label it: “That’s mean!”
State disapproval: “This isn’t cool!”
Ask for support: “Are you with me?”
T-Tell or E-mail For Help
Teach “Reporting (Trying to stop someone from being hurt) vs. Tattling (Trying to get someone in trouble).”
Stress: “If someone is in harm’s way, report and get help.” Call from a cell, send a text, find an adult, or call 911.
E-mail the AA bully address.
Tell an adult
Bystanders often don’t report bullying for fear of retaliation, so make sure they know which adults will support them, ensure their confidentiality and give the option of anonymous reporting. Find an adult you trust. If you have problems, keep going until you find someone who believes you.
E-Exit Alone or With Others
Bullies love audiences. Bystanders can drain a bully’s power by reducing the group size a few ways.
Encouraging: “You coming?
Asking: “What are you all doing here?
Directing: “Let’s go!” Suggesting: “Let’s leave.”
Exiting: If you can’t get others to leave with you, then walk away. If you stay, you’re part of the cruelty. Leaving means you refuse to be part.
R-Give a Reason or Remedy
Bystanders are more likely to help when told why the action is wrong or what to do.
Review why it’s wrong: “This isn’t right!” “This is mean!” “You’ll get suspended.” “You’ll hurt him.”
Offer a remedy: “Go get help!” “Let’s work this out with Coach.”
The right comments and behaviors can make peers stop, think, consider the consequences, and even move on. Bystanders can make a difference. They can be mobilized to step in and reduce peer cruelty. It’s up to us to show them safe ways to do so, support them, and then acknowledge their courageous efforts. 160,000 students today skipped school because of peer intimidation and bullying.