Be a friend, step in. It’s more than just a slogan. In recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month, the Bullying Prevention Advisory Council wants parents and students to know we all share a responsibility to “step in” when we witness bullying behavior.
That’s why the district enlisted the help of several BE NICE student ambassadors over the summer to tape three Public Service Announcements which are based on true stories from WCS students who have experienced bullying. The PSA’s are titled “Be a Friend, Step In” and the second video in the series can be seen below.
In this month’s article, the Bullying Prevention Advisory Council offers some helpful ways for students, community organizations and parents to avoid being a bystander.
- Let a trusted adult in your life know what you saw so they can provide support to you, the bullied student and even the bully.
- Make every effort to be nice to the student who has been bullied. Including them in your friend group likely will make a big difference in their life. It will also keep them from feeling isolated from their peers.
- You can’t remain silent. If you do, the bully wins. If the bully believes his or her behavior is acceptable, he or she will keep treating others poorly.
- Invest in or develop a bystander education program. Formal training will teach students how to intervene safely and appropriately when a peer is being bullied. A bystander protocol with simple, concrete steps will help encourage safe student interventions on behalf of peers who are bullied. Your bystander education program should teach students to recognize whether they can safely intervene or should immediately contact an adult or the authorities.
- Teach students to look out for and recognize words and actions that indicate a peer is being bullied.
- Foster empathy for bullying victims who exhibit challenging behaviors or diverse characteristics that are outside the other students’ realm of experience.
- Peer mentoring affords students the opportunity to nurture friendships and better understand differences among individuals. Peer mentoring can considerably reduce bullying behaviors and students’ angst. A more structured program can be created or try forming informal peer groups around a common them such as be a friend, step in.
- If you believe your child is being bullied, it is imperative that you contact the school immediately. Even though victims often do not want their parents to inform school officials due to fear of additional reprisals, it is important that you do so anyway. Most bullied children are relieved when the bullying event is addressed. It is also damaging to the bullies when their conduct is ignored.
- Document incidents of bullying to provide to the school. For example, When did the incident occur? Who was involved? What was alleged? If you and other parents provide additional documentation, it will help the school minimize bullying behaviors.
- Parents should expect the school to take bullying behaviors seriously and examine the facts in each situation. This typically involves talks with students and the alleged bully or bullies.
Below are some helpful links: