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Help! I’m being bullied at school...

Lavina Sadhwani, MEd

Before getting into this blog I want to emphasize that bullying is *not* a rite of passage nor should it be normalized. Bullying is a form is aggression directed towards another and it is harmful.

A school is meant to be a place where students can obtain knowledge, engage in team-building activities and feel safe. But when students bully and bystanders watch attentively, it can be traumatic for those who are victimized.

As a youth, I congratulate you for seeking information from a reputable source!  PREVNet is Canada’s authority on bullying. Researchers, educators and other caring adults associated with PREVNet dedicate their lives to developing effective tools to respond to bullying. We want to help you and equip you with tips and tools.

First of all, remember you have the right to feel safe and that you do not deserve to be bullied. Believe in yourself and try your best not to allow the bullying to affect how you feel about yourself.  The following ideas are presented in no particular order and you can start with any one of them.

 

1)     Share your feelings with a friend you trust.

Opening up to a friend can be helpful. A friend knows who you are talking about and understands the dynamics of the school. You can say a word or a short sentence to a friend and he/she will understand what you are talking about.

2)     Ask a friend to hang out with you.

A good friend will stand by your side and you may ask a friend to walk home with you or your friend may message you to confirm that you got home safely. Having a friend to hang out with gives you someone to talk to and this friend can also be your witness.

3)     Tell a trusted teacher what is happening.

Teachers are there to help and sharing your fears with a teacher can lead to solving bullying problems and relieve your stress. Teachers can look out for inappropriate behaviour and will not make you work on a group project with the individual who is bullying you.

4)     Tell your parent(s) about what is happening at school.

Sharing painful experiences with parents is difficult. Parents can have a range of emotions but it is important for them to know what is happening to you so they can help. If you are being bullied, you are not safe and your parents, teachers, and principal have a responsibility to keep you safe.

5)     Inform your principal about what is happening.

If you feel comfortable, you can set-up an appointment with your principal. Before meeting with your principal prepare what you will say and ensure you have evidence, which is explained next.  

6)     Document the bullying.

On your phone, laptop, or in separate notebook, write down everything related to your experiences of being bullied. Write down what happened, who was present, when the incident happened, and where the incident took place. Also note, what you were doing beforehand and what you said. Lastly, write down whether something helped or made the bullying worse.

7)     Re-focus your attention away from the bullying.

Being bullied does not define you. Everyone is interesting and has a lot to offer. Spend time with others to explore an interest or a hobby or learn a new skill. Re-focusing your attention will not stop other peoples’ bullying behaviour, but it will give you a break and the opportunity to have fun, be around fun people, and feel good about yourself.

8)     See your family doctor.

Being bullied can impact your health. Tell your doctor that you are being bullied and monitor changes in your health, eating, sleeping, and moods. Your doctor might recommend services in your community or could write a letter on your behalf to the school. Share the Bullying in the Primary Care Setting information sheet with your doctor.

9)     Learn more about bullying.

You are not alone and many of us have experienced bullying. Researching about bullying might provide additional insights about why people bully and tips on how to stand up to those who bully.

10)  Start a club at school.

Ask a teacher or the principal if you can start a ‘Bullying Prevention Club’ at school. As a club, you can inform others on the forms of bullying occurring at your school and share resources with peers. As a club you may also recommend that your school explores the option of getting a bullying prevention app, anonymous reporting box, or other strategies to raise awareness and address bullying.

 

Experiencing bullying can be really awful. Once you do some of the above suggestions, you will be able to build healthier and closer relationships with friends, family and teachers. Bullying is not a problem that anyone can solve alone – it is important to tell others about how you are feeling and what you are experiencing.

If you need additional support or information, please contact Kids Help Phone at 1 800 668 6868.

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