Have you ever made someone feel uncomfortable or hurt by pushing, kicking, hitting, teasing, spreading nasty rumours, damaging their stuff, threatening, intimidating or even writing mean things on toilet walls about them? Rather, have you had any of those things happen to you?
Sometimes we say or do things without thinking about how it makes the next person feel. Bullying is terrible because it causes long-term damage to the victim and it can lead to depression or even worse, suicide. Here's some advice on how to deal with it.
What to do if you or a classmate is being bullied
Being a victim of bullying can happen to anybody and it is not your fault. You might be scared of telling somebody because it seems like a sign of weakness, but to be honest, if you don’t tell anybody, it may not stop. So, tell a friend, your parents, brothers or sisters, school RCL (Representative Council of Learners) or even your teacher.
Also try not to stay in isolated areas around the school because a lot of bullying happens where there is no supervision, like in the corridors, school grounds, toilets, etc. Making sure that you are in a crowded place during breaks will help you because bullies don’t want people to know what they’re doing as it might get them in trouble.
As a student, you might be scared to speak about bullying out of the fear of being bullied yourself, but witnessing a classmate being bullied and turning a blind eye is just as bad. This is what you can do for your classmate that is a victim of bullying.
Report the bullying and harassment to your teachers. Make them aware of the situation by telling them in private because your safety also matters.
Support the victim when you see them being bullied. For example, offer a sandwich if their lunch is taken away from them and encourage them to tell their parents.
Be kind and let them know that you do not approve of what is happening. Show that you really are against it by not joining in on the laughing, teasing, and harassment.
Do not be the bully. Being feared by your schoolmates is really not cool and you will not make meaningful friendships because people will only want to be around you in order to avoid you treating them badly. Also, you don't want to be the reason why someone takes their own life because you made school unbearable for them.
Before you make someone feel afraid, think about how awful you would feel if somebody made your misery at school their entertainment. This behavior is very unacceptable and we should be protecting each other instead of picking on each other. Remember, bullying has bad consequences and the school can expel you for that. Creating a community that cares starts with you!