Who is responsible?
Teachers and parents have a special responsibility for looking after young
people, and that includes helping them if they are being bullied at school.
But adults cannot do this without help from young people. When someone
is bullied at school, other young people who are not directly involved
usually know what is going on. Even though they are not involved they
could help people who are being bullied. They could encourage them to
talk to an adult or could offer to talk to an adult on their behalf. They
might be able to let bullies know that they do not like what they are
doing and that they are determined to see it stop.
All members of a
school community, young and old, have a responsibility to help people
who are being bullied and to speak out against bullying behaviour.
Why should young
There are lots of reasons why young people should help schools tackle
- They might want
to help a friend, or someone else they know, who is being bullied.
- Some have been
bullied themselves in the past and want to stop it happening to other
- They may realise
that anyone can be bullied - if bullying is not challenged it may be
their turn to be victims next.
- Taking part in
anti-bullying activities can be enjoyable and worthwhile.
- People who watch
bullying but do nothing (they are called bystanders) help the bullies
by providing them with an audience. Who wants to be accused of helping
bullies? Being cruel isn't cool is a great slogan devised in Keith Grammar
What if it isn't
If your school is one of those where bullying is still not taken seriously
enough there are things that young people can do to help raise awareness
of the problem. Anyone can do this. You just need to be determined to
make things change.
Some school students
have helped by carrying out questionnaire surveys which can help to show
where bullying is happening and how many people are involved. Others have
found out about different anti-bullying strategies by reading books and
sending away for information. It is best if you can do this as part of
the normal activities of the school. Subjects like English, Modern Studies,
Religious Studies and PSE (Personal and Social Education) may provide
opportunities for work like this. Once your report is ready you could
show it to the head teacher, the student council or the school board.
This should help everybody to understand that bullying needs to be taken
seriously, and that something can be done about it.
Don't leave it
If young people leave it all to adults, the problem will never go away.
You can help to make your school a better place for everyone, and learn
some useful skills at the same time, by joining in with activities like
those listed on this sheet.
- Bully boxes have
been set up in some schools. Young people can put notes in these if
they are too worried to speak openly about bullying. If your school
has boxes like this use them sensibly. Always make sure that anything
you write about has really happened.
- Be a buddy to
a younger pupil. Older pupils can sometimes volunteer to help new pupils
coming into their school by getting to know them and by helping them
with any problems.
- Special campaigns,
such as a "no-bullying day", can help.
- Some schools
have student or pupil councils. You can ask the council to discuss bullying,
even if you are not a member.
- Counselling is
a special way of talking to someone. People who are being bullied, or
who are bullying others can be helped by counselling, but only if the
counsellor (usually an adult) has had training.
- Some schools
have set up peer counselling schemes where young people volunteer to
learn how to help other young people.
- Mediation - some
schools have introduced schemes where two people who disagree about
something agree that a third person, who may be either an adult or another
young person, helps to find a solution to a problem. This is helpful
in many situations, - but not in all cases of bullying. A bully may
refuse to take part because he or she has no interest in ending the
bullying. A victim may feel that a negotiated solution is not fair when
it is the other person who is entirely in the wrong.
- Taking part in
plays and other drama activities can help people to understand what
it feels like to be bullied and to think about what they can do to stop
- Peer Support
(or Tutoring) is an idea, developed in Australia, in which older students
volunteer to discuss things like bullying, friendship or drugs with
groups of younger pupils.
- The Anti-Bullying
Network website has a special section for young people and a "Questions
and Answers" section packed with facts about bullying. Go back
to our homepage
and surf some of the other sections.
site has an article written by Scotland's Commissioner for Children
and Young People entitled, Bullying Has No Place in Scottish Schools.
website includes very useful information about peer support.
Any comments about this information
sheet should be directed to the Anti-Bullying
It may be photocopied or reproduced for non-commercial use in schools
and other educational establishments in Scotland providing the Anti-Bullying
Network is credited.