Do you think you might be the student who is causing hurt, harm, or humiliation to others?
What if you are the one bullying? Know this, bullying is about behavior, and your behavior is something you can change. One facet of practicing self-advocacy is to consider why you are behaving in a way which negatively impacts others.
There is no one stereotype depicting someone who bullies. It can be anyone: the shy kid, the smart student, someone who is well-liked. Bullying is about behavior, not a label that the person wears. If you are bullying, it’s time to stop. Know that your behavior is something you have the power to change. Read each of the following questions and check any boxes that you think might apply to you.
The issue: Think no one cares if you bully someone?
How to take action: Recognize that people do care. The person being bullied cares. People care about you, too. The question to ask yourself is: How do I feel about being the one who exhibits that behavior?
The issue: Think it will make you feel better?
How to take action: Recognize that your actions are hurting others who do not deserve it. Consider this, does it really make you feel better? Think about other ways to build yourself up that don’t involve bringing others down.
The issue: Think you will be part of the “in-crowd” if you bully others?
How to take action: Do you think you have to bully to be accepted? Bully or be bullied? Either way you lose. Know that you will likely develop a reputation, both with adults and peers, as someone who is not to be trusted, who is causing problems, and lacks respect for others.
The issue: Think it’s OK to bully someone if you have been bullied?
How to take action: Does taking out your frustration on someone else make anything better for you or them? If you have been bullied and are also being bullied, that’s a really hard place to be. It’s important for you to talk with a trusted adult so that you can develop a plan to change your situation.
The issue: Think you’ll get attention if you bully?
How to take action: If you bully, you’ll get attention and it’s likely to be negative. Sooner or later you will have to deal with consequences for your actions. Schools have policies against bullying ranging from meeting with school personnel to expulsion. Most social media sites enforce guidelines around bullying and harassment.
The issue: Think you’re in control?
How to take action: Think about why you are bullying. Is it to be liked, to get back at someone, to feel powerful? Know that just like students who are bullied, those who bully are at a higher risk for physical and emotional health issues. It’s important to know that there are other ways that are healthier, to feel like you are in control over your decisions.
Start by creating a plan that works for you and your situation. This student action plan is an opportunity for you – either on your own or with your parents and teachers – to develop a strategy to change your situation.