Bullying is a serious problem that must be addressed. Many anti-bullying programs have been set up to teach children how to confront bullies. I know you’ve all been to those types of assemblies where your principal, vice principal or oher adult gives a presentation about how to deal with bullies. They tell you that bullies only pick on other kids because they feel insecure and that this is their way of dealing with it. There is an imbalance of power, bystanders can help, turn it around at the bullies, make a joke out of it, tell a responsible adult. These are all things that have been said to you countless times.
But do they really work? I admit that this stereotypical bullying situation does happen sometimes, and it can be solved by methods such as telling an adult and turning it around at the bully. However, sometimes, telling an adult, even anonymously, creates other problems. For example, in middle school, somebody did something to me that was absolutely wrong, but I won’t get into details. I did what I had been taught to do, and went to a responsible adult. I later found out that a popular kid had dared another person to do that wrong thing. Both students got in serious trouble, but in school, my peers didn’t think that they had done wrong. In fact, they blamed me for tattling on the popular kid. Apparently daring somebody to do something wrong removes you from blame, at least according to several of my peers. I became socially shunned for a part of that year.
Conventional methods of dealing with bullying don’t always work. I personally haven’t seen many examples when they would have worked. However, I still suggest going to a responsible adult; it just may not produce results the way you might think. You have also probably been taught to turn it around in the bully’s face, but that doesn’t really work well either. Sometimes it even makes the situation worse. Bullying programs say that kids bully because they feel insecure about themselves, but that is not always true. From what I have seen, a large number of kids bully because they think it’s funny and it makes them look cool. I have witnessed times when people don’t even really realize that they are being a bully.
New methods need to be devised to confront bullying. I unfortunately have not been able to think of many, but I know that better ways of dealing with bullying are out there. Possibly more anonymous ways of dealing with bullying would remove the “You tattled!” factor, and other methods of victims confronting bullies could help stop bullying as well. However, more bullying assemblies isn’t the answer. In fact, the only people who generally listen to those assemblies are the people who don’t bully. The other people are too busy talking with their friends or laughing at the (corny) anti-bullying videos.
Adults have made these bullying programs, but kids are the ones trying to use them. We need to find new methods of confronting bullying. The current methods are good ideas on paper, but fail in action.
Submitted anonymously by a 7th grader.