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What Should I Do if I’m Being Bullied?
  • Tell your parents or other trusted adults. They can help stop the bullying.
  • If you are bullied at school, tell your teacher, school counselor, or principal. Telling is not tattling.
  • Don't fight back. Don't try to bully those who bully you.
  • Try not to show anger or fear. Students who bully like to see that they can upset you.
  • Calmly tell the student to stop…or say nothing and then walk away.
  • Use humor, if this is easy for you to do. (For example, if a student makes fun of your clothing, laugh and say, "Yeah, I think this shirt is kind of funny-looking, too.")
Try to avoid situations in which bullying is likely to happen. It is not your fault that you are being bullied.
You might want to: 
  • Avoid areas of the school where there are not many students or teachers around.
  • Make sure you aren't alone in the bathroom or locker room.
  • Sit near the front of the bus.
  • Leave expensive things and lots of money at home — don’t bring them to school.
  • Sit with a group of friends at lunch.
  • Take a different route through hallways or walk with friends or a teacher to your classes.
What Should I Do If I See Someone Being Bullied at School?
  • Ask yourself, "Is it my job to help?" Think about how you might feel if the bullying were happening to you. You and other kids can lend a hand, even when you aren't close friends with the kids being bullied. Your school will be a better place if you help stop bullying.
  • You can help — think about what the best approach for you is:
    • Don't just stand there…say something!
    • Kids who bully may think they're being funny or "cool." If and only if you feel safe, tell the person to stop the bullying behavior. Let them know that you don't like it and that it isn't funny.
    • Don’t bully back! It won't help if you use mean names or actions, and it could make things worse.
  • It’s okay if you don't feel safe telling a bully to stop. No one should enter into an unsafe situation. Here are other things you can do to help:
    • Say kind words to the child who is being bullied, such as "I'm sorry about what happened," and "I don't like it!" Help them understand that it's not his or her fault. Be a friend. Invite that student to do things with you, such as sit together at lunch or work together on a project. Everyone needs a friend!
    • Tell the student who is being bullied to talk to someone about what happened. Offer to help by going along.
    • Pay attention to the other kids who see the bullying. (These people are called "bystanders.") Are any of them laughing or joining in with the bullying? If yes, these kids are part of the problem. Let those students know that they're not helping! Don’t be one of them!
    • IMPORTANT: Tell an adult. Chances are, the kid who is being bullied needs help from an adult. The kid who is doing the bullying probably does, too. Reporting that someone is getting bullied or hurt in some other way is not "tattling." Adults at school can help. Ask them to help keep you safe after telling. Explain to your friends that bullying is not fair and encourage them to join in helping! If you need help telling, take a friend along. Think about who you could tell in your school:
      • A teacher (which one would you talk to?)
      • A school counselor
      • A cafeteria or playground aid
      • A school nurse
      • The principal
      • A bus driver
      • Any other adults you feel comfortable telling

What If the Bullying Isn't Happening at School? 

If there is an adult around, report the bullying to an adult (your youth group leader, minister, or sports coach). No matter where the bullying happens, you should talk to your parents about bullying that you see or know about. Ask them for their ideas about how to help. 


National Crime Prevention Council:  www.ncpc.org

Out on a Limb: A Guide to Getting Along

Designed for second to fourth graders, this interactive guide helps children work through conflict. Stop Bullying Now!

Learn about bullying and what you can do to stop it, watch webisodes, play games, and more!  

Statistics and Studies on Bullying:
It is estimated that 160,000 children each day miss school due to fear of an attack or intimidation by other students.
  • 74% of eight to 11-year-old students said teasing and bullying occur at their schools. (Kaiser Family Foundation and Nickelodeon, 2001)
  • Regarding verbal bullying, bullies were less likely to make derogatory statements about other students' religion or race. "There seem to be stronger social norms against making these kind of statements than against belittling someone about their appearance or behavior." (Nansel,2001)
  • "...when the teasing turns to taunting and the child is afraid that any attempt to stop the aggressor will cause harm, the situation is more serious and possibly crosses the line into bullying." (Puhl and Latner, 2007)
  • Taunts, shoves and social isolation can wreak emotional and physical harm in childhood and possibly beyond that is distinct from the health consequences of being overweight. (Puhl & Latner,2007)
  • Bullying and teasing are cited as the top school troubles of students ages 8-15. (The Kaiser Family Foundation)

Bullying is a huge source of grief for children. It's estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day, due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. 70% of students feel that schools respond poorly to bullying and victimization. Bullying takes an average of 30 seconds and most of it is verbal.

"The world is a dangerous place not because those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." - Albert Einstein

Bystanders tend to feel anxious and afraid, and report that bullying interferes with their own learning. Student report that they fail to respond to the bullying because they feel it is "none of their business" or were not sure what to do. Their inaction results in bystanders experiencing feelings of anxiety and powerlessness similar to that of the... See More victims. As a result of their passive or complicit participation in bullying, bystanders tend to justify, rationalize or minimize their role. Over time bystanders sense of empathy for the victim of bullying is diminished, which tends to lead them to side with the bully. (Schools Where Everyone Belongs: Stan Davis)

Educators, parents and all caring professionals need to take action. Caring adults must become role models through language and action, creating boundaries of non-tolerance of any verbal, physical or sexual abuse of any kind.

Often parents will ask what the signs to look for if their child is being bullied. Here are some signs that your child may be being bullied: 

  • Acting nervous or tense before school
  • Appearing to be suffering unusual fatigue from stress
  • He may be phone calls and just listen and then look upset
  • She may get text messages, IM's or emails and then look upset
  • They may complain about aches, pains and not feel well and want to stay home. 
  • Maybe she is having difficulty concentrating in school or completing homework, or her academic performance may drop.
  • He may seem more sad, fearful or angry.
  • She may say she doesn't like school. 
  • May want to be driven to school and dropped off at a certain entrance and time.
  • May be missing belongings taken to school or bringing them home damaged
  • One may come home with clothes roughed up or torn
  • One may need more money to take to school.
  • May show bruises, scrapes, or cuts that can't be explained. 
When parents find out children are being bullied it is normal to feel angry and protective. However for any effective discussion to happen it is important to stay calm and emotionally restrained for now. Many times when a child is victimized, parents feel victimized as well. Parents need to provide empathy and support, but try not to take it personally. If parents act as if they are the target, this only makes it worse as it will compound the problem. The child needs the parent now more than ever to be an adult support and not a fellow victim.
Parents need to act in a non-accusatory and uncritical way, express concern for the welfare of all parties involved, describe the situation objectively and specifically and ask for help on the child's behalf. It is important to know that the school has a policy in place to handle the bullying situation however. 
Attacking the bully or the bully's parents will cause the bully's parents to become defensive and may only provoke the situation. Starting a fight between parents doesn't ease tensions between the children.

What works:
Clearly define the behavior to be changed, enforce rules and laws to raise the cost of the behavior to the perpetrator, modeling positive behavior and changing the widespread acceptance of the behavior.
We tend to blame the victim of bullying in several ways. We tell them that they didn't stand up for themselves. We focus on the characteristics of targets that make them different. "We say he is being teased because he has Asperger's syndrome or she is being teased because she is overweight or because he is gay.
Actually students are bullied because BULLIES CHOOSE TO BULLY THEM or because adults and bystanders don't intervene.
Adults tell children to ignore it, stand up for themselves, learn to make friends, walk away and not let the bullying bother them because bullies "are just jealous anyway" or "don't mean it". These interventions are common, well meaning and often ineffective.

The majority of students are bystanders (75-80%) and these students play a key role in all types of bullying situations. Bystanders tend to feel anxious and afraid, and report that bullying interferes with their own learning. Student report that they fail to respond to the bullying because they feel it is "none of their business" or were not sure what to do. Their inaction results in bystanders experiencing feelings of anxiety and powerlessness similar to that of the victims. Bystanders often then tend to justify, rationalize or minimize their role. Over time bystanders sense of empathy for the victim of bullying is diminished, which tends to lead them to side with the bully. (Schools Where Everyone Belongs, Stan Davis)
What doesn't work with bullying? 71% of students report that teachers or other adults in the classroom ignored bullying incidents. When asked, students uniformly expressed the desire that teachers intervene rather than ignore teasing and bullying. Staff inconsistency in enforcing rules makes rules harder to enforce, even by people who believe in them. Rules must not be difficult to enforce. Rules must be clear. Inconsistency in rules teaches bullies that their behavior is OK. It teaches targets that they deserve to be bullied.

Simply speaking to children about kindness and respect without having any systematic disciplinary action for cruelty is unlikely to have much effect on aggressive youth. Bystander training is helpful but only if staff members actively model the behaviors they are trying to encourage and protect bystanders. (Like a neighborhood watch program will only work if police respond quickly and effectively and if people reporting crimes are protected from retaliation by criminals). The word "tattling" and the negative connotations that accompany it discourage young people from reporting harassment. Asking students to choose their own teams and groups gives students an easy way to exclude and harass slow, clumsy and socially awkward students by choosing them last and making critical comments about them. It is better if we assign groups randomly. Also leaving young people unsupervised allows allows harassment to take place. High risk places of bullying are: playgrounds, buses, halls, locker rooms and lunch rooms. The attitudes of staff members have a profound impact on students. Adults who consider teasing a natural consequence of obnoxious or different behavior will make bullying more likely. It is our job as adults to support young people's rights to be safe, even if they are socially awkward, physically clumsy, or otherwise different, just as it is our job to protect young people from harassment based on religion, race or gender. IT IS NOT INEVITABLE that DIFFERENCES WILL LEAD TO BULLYING.  

(A great book on the subject is Schools Where Everyone Belongs: practical strategies for reducing bullying by Stan Davis with Julia Davis)


Most cyberbulling involving kids and teens is done by their peers and occurs as early as 2nd grade. Cyberbullying takes many forms, with the most common being:

  • sending insulting or threatening emails, texts, or instant messages directly to someone using a computer, cell phone or other e-communication device.
  • spreading hateful comments about someone through emails, blogs, online profiles or chat rooms.
  • stealing passwords and sending out threatening messages using a false identity
  • building a Web site targeting specific people

85% of middle school children report being cyberbullied at least once

32% of American teens who use the Internet report some form of online harassment

In a recent study, 72% of participants, ages 12-17, claimed they knew who was doing the cyberbullying.  

Cyber Safety: www.budgetdirect.com.au/blog/digital-safety-staying-safe-online.html

New Jersey State Law:

Electronic communication is added to the definition of bullying, and schools may discipline when acts disrupt school.  (Sec. 18A: 37-14 (2007))

In 2008, New Jersey became one of the first states to address a cyberbullying policy for college and university students.

Cyberbullying Research Center Website

Tattling vs. Telling, a.k.a. Ratting vs. Reporting:
by Breakstone, Dreiblatt and Dreiblatt (2009)
      Tattling is when a person tells about the actions of another for the purpose of getting that person in trouble. It is tattling if no one is and nothing is in danger or will be in danger.
      Telling is when a person tells a person in authority that someone or something is getting hurt, or might get hurt, either physically or emotionally. A person who is telling is trying to help a person or a thing.
Ask students  about which adults in their school are considered safe to whom they may report bullying. Invite these adults to the classroom so that all of the students can become familiar with them. Have the adults discuss how they can be informed and how they would react to being told about the actions of another student.  This reassurance that some adults CAN HELP - not embarrass, humiliate or make the situation worse- goes a long way in creating confidence that talking to a trusted adult will make the school a better place for EVERYONE.
"Tattling", "Telling," Ratting" or "Reporting" may not be words common to your school or student culture. Use whatever words will help differentiate the two concepts.

The Power of the Bystander
"He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it."     -Martin Luther King, Jr.
A bystander is a person who is present during an event or situation. Bystanders have a tremendous amount of power and influence, especially in regard to bullying.  Along with the response of the target, it is the action or inaction of bystanders that will determine if bullying continues or ends.
Research shows that most students do nothing about bullying unless there is serious danger. Some of the reasons:
  • are afraid involvement may make the situation worse for the target
  • don't know what to do, what to say or who to tell
  • are not sure if they should involve adults
  • are afraid they will become the next target
  • may consider the bully a friend
  • are not friends with the target
  • consider the target to be a loser, nerd, geek,etc.
  • do not believe the target deserves empathy
  • think the bullying will toughen up the target
  • believe that kids don't tell on kids
  • feel it is easier to ignore the bullying

Research shows that when a bystander tells a bully to stop the bullying, it reduces bullying about 75%.

Books on Bullying:
My Secret Bully
Letters to a Bullied Girl by Olivia Gardner (2008) a collection of lettters written by children, teens and adults who have been bullied, were bullies or were bystanders to bullying. Startling and honest accounts from people even years later to show the powerful and lasting effects that bullying has on so many children and adults.
Schools Where Everyone Belongs:practical strategies for reducing bullying by Stan Davis
How to Stop Bullying and Social Aggression: elementary grade lessons and activities that teach empathy, friendship, and respect by Steve Breakstone, Michael Drieblatt and Karen Dreiblatt
Why Good Kids Act Cruel: The Hidden Truth about the Pre-Teen Years by Carly Pickhardt, PhD  (2010)
"Early adolescence is a phase of anxiety, uncertainty and insecurity. To make matters worse, although all kids are going through the same transformation, none of them share what it is like, each feeling alone, isolated and unique. The result is that even fantastic kids will do and say harmful things." Carl Pickhardt. This book discusses social cruelty, early adolescence, teasing, exclusion, bullying, rumoring, ganing up, what the school can do and the gifts of adversity.
Teen Cyberbullying Investigated: Where Do Your Rights End and Consequences Begin? by Judge Tom Jacobs ( Thomas Jacobs, JD has served as Arizona Assistant Attorney General, a Superior Court Juvenile Division judge, a family court judge, and an adjunct professor at the Arizona State Univ School of Social Work. )  This book discusses the rights of free speech and privacy in the Internet age.  Learn what cyberbulling is and what you can do about it. Cyberbullying includes:
  • spreading harassing emails, voicemails, texts or IM's to someone
  • spreading hateful comments online about someone
  • stealing passwords and sending threatening messages using a false identity
  • building a Web site to target specific people

www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov    Stop Bullying Now!
You may be getting bullied or maybe you are the bully. Either way the bullying needs to stop. With animated podcasts and games, this site has a lot of information about why kids bully and what to do about it if you see it, feel it or do it.
Where to get Immediate Help:
If you are currently dealing with cyberbullying and need help right away, talk to a parent, teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult. Or contact one of these resources:
Wired Safety Online
Click on the "cyberstalking, Cyberbullying and Cyberabuse Helpline" and follow the instruction to obtain help.
Click on the "Get Help Now" and follow the instruction to obtain help.
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline
Call 1-866-331-9474 anytime or chat online 4pm-12am CST. All calls and chats are anonymous and confidential.
National Sexual Assault Online Helpline
a free confidential secure service that provides live online help. Or call directly 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
If you or someone you know is in immediate danger call 911

(973) 985-4503