Originally published by dirty with the title “The 411 On Bullying” on 25/06/09. Republished ahead of Anti-Bullying Week 2016 (starts 14th November 2016).
If you’re in school and somewhat different, expect to be bullied.
Whether you are different by your interests or hobbies, or that you don’t go out every Friday night drinking with your classmates, or even down to the colour of your skin or how you dress, expect to be bullied.
While there might be adequate methods of dealing with it appropriately during school, sometimes schools just don’t toe the line. Some schools are better than others with dealing with bullying. They may write off a problem as soon as they see it, putting it down to ‘playful teasing’, saying that it’s ‘character building’. It’s not, and it shouldn’t happen. Dealing with bullying gives schools a bad name and unnecessary conflict to deal with.
Here are some routes to take if this has happened to you:
1) Keep a diary. By keeping a diary and writing down everyday concurrences, you have evidence of what’s happened to you. If teachers won’t believe you or pass you off to another teacher, you’ve got this vital piece of information. If you’ve been a victim of cyber bullying, save texts on your mobile and/or emails/MSN messages on your computer. Print these off and keep them in your diary. If in the case of physical bullying, go to the nurse or your doctor or even a hospital if necessary to get details of what happened to you. Schools aren’t likely to take you seriously without some sort of medical note.
2) Tell a teacher. Make note of what action they take. Keep this in your diary and note how long it took for the aforementioned bullying to stop, if it did stop.
3) Stay with friends. If anything happens, your friends will be witnesses.
4) Tell your parents if your teacher does nothing. If you’re being bullied, your parents will do anything to protect you and ensure that you have the best time at school that you can possibly have.
5) Your parents will possibly contact the school to make a formal complaint if your bullying hasn’t been dealt with. You shouldn’t have to contact the school to ask why the bullies haven’t been punished; this is the school’s job. If the educators aren’t doing this, then they’re not doing their job, and you must inform someone at a higher level.
6) Write a letter to your headteacher with your parents, detailing what’s happened and why you’re writing the letter. Keep it short; nobody is going to want to read ten pages of incidences. Keep it to the point too. Also send a copy to the school governors; it will probably be brought up in a meeting. Be stern in how long you wish for them to reply to you.
7) If this hasn’t worked, forward the same letter to your MP. If your bullying has been racial, homophobic or physical and the school aren’t doing their job in protecting you in the UNICEF’s Convention Of Children’s Rights. If you’ve been racially bullied, send a copy to the Institute Of Race Relations and explain to them why you’ve sent it to them. If you’ve been homophobically bullied, send a copy to the Equality commission.
Above all, please don’t let it seriously effect you. Do whatever you can to keep upbeat and happy and keep in a positive mindset. If you’re off school a lot with health problems caused by being bullied (trust me, it can happen) do school work while you’re off. Do some language coursework and English coursework or maybe some GCSE Bitesize revision.
Bullying is a widespread problem that isn’t addressed; it’s bred from hatred and ignorance of people, usually down to their parents and their beliefs. Under no circumstances is it your fault. There’s a multitude of help on the Internet and from friends who have been bullied who will understand and will listen to you. As hard as it might seem, talk to your parents about how you feel, and they, too, will help you overcome your bullying.
Keeping your mental health intact, even down to things like your self image and confidence is highly important, this can severely hurt your self esteem and lead to a diminished feeling in yourself.
Bullying is often looked upon as a normal thing to happen; harmless teasing. It isn’t. If many of the things that happen inside of school happened outside of school they would be in breach of the law. Many children get beaten up, victimised, heckled, singled out and made to feel like the scum of the earth each and every day they walk into school. Some bullying even results in the worse case scenarios of eating disorders, self harm, and suicide.
The worst thing is that you have to be there. If it was a job you could just up and leave. This is why it’s so important to report bullying, to stop it happening. Each battle you fight against your school to stop your bullying is a battle won for another child.
By ensuring it stops now, you will help so many others in the future.
If you would like to talk to anyone about bullying or other things, please contact Meic, the national information, advice and advocacy helpline for 0-25s in Wales. You can contact Meic by phone (080880 23456), text (84001), instant message (www.meic.cymru) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) between 8am and midnight.
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