Tell an Adult

If you are being bullied, it’s important to tell an adult. This can be your parents, guardian, or other family member. The adult can also be someone at school, such as a teacher, administrator, school counselor, or someone you trust. Sometimes the first person who you tell might not be able to help you, but don’t give up! Keep telling until you connect with someone who can help.

Telling an adult

It might not be easy.
You might wish you didn’t have to say anything.
It can take some time to figure out what to say and how much to share,
But do it.
Do it because silence is bullying’s best friend.
Do it because you’re not alone.
There are people who care that you are safe
And who want your school and online experiences to be positive.
No one should ever go through bullying alone.
Tell an adult!

What to Say

When talking with an adult, remember these steps:

NOTE: It could be helpful to have your Student Action Plan, either a blank version to fill out together or one in which you have already shared some thoughts.

  • Let them know that you’re coming to them for advice.
  • Explain that you’re going through a situation that you can’t fix on your own.
  • Sometimes bullying involves a lot of personal details, if you don’t want to share everything let them know that there are certain things you are not ready to share and ask them to respect that.
  • Emphasize that you want the bullying to stop and that the behavior has hurt you, as well as who is involved in the situation.
  • Ask, “What can be done so that I can feel safe?”
  • Listen to the advice, seek clarification on anything that doesn’t make sense, and share your own ideas.
  • Decide on specific actions you can take together.
  • Clarify what your roles should be moving forward.
  • Ask them what the best way is to communicate about experiencing bullying and whether you’re ready to talk about it.
  • Thank them for listening and caring.

Opening Up a Conversation

Bullying is often done in places where parents or teachers may not be present. Since it’s up to adults to enforce the rules, it’s important to tell them so they can act.

How do you go about telling an adult? Try saying:

  • “I saw a post with several mean comments about someone I know, what should I do?”
  • “I want to tell you about something that happened today, can we talk more?”
  • “Somebody posted something that made me feel ___________.”
  • (Sad • Hurt • Mad • Embarrassed • Worried • Scared)

For students: What if you told an adult and it wasn’t helpful? – Have you told someone about being bullied and nothing has changed? Don’t give up! Did you know that you have the legal right to be safe at school? If the bullying continues even after you told an adult, know that there are laws designed to protect you. It is very important for students to reach out to another trusted adult and ask for help again. This adult can be a parent, a teacher, a coach, or anyone from the community. Let them know that you need their help and that you wouldn’t be coming to them if you could fix the situation on your own.

Ask Us: Telling An Adult | PACERTalks About Bullying: Season 2, Episode 21

A question from Dawn, who wants to know what to do if you feel like you can’t tell your parents about bullying.

We Need To Talk

This video provides insight into some of the challenges of telling an adult and what kids need when they do talk.