Getting bullied at school

Bullies are very cunning and they are expert at getting away with it.

Bullies can operate alone or as part of a group. Bullying can be verbal (name calling), physical (hitting and kicking), virtual (cyberbullying – threats or name-calling via the internet or messaging apps) or a combination of all three. Bullies know exactly how to upset their victim by picking on their sensitive points.

The person being bullied can feel a whole range of emotions, from feeling very upset, shut out, to feeling suicidal and self-harming. Often, the person feels alone, helpless, powerless and afraid that if they tell anyone, the bullying will get worse. This can affect their health, their confidence, their self-esteem and their school work.

How to solve the problem

  • Ignore the bully where possible. Remember that the bully is looking for a reaction from you, so don’t give them the satisfaction.
  • Tell a teacher you can trust. The bully should not find out that you have told the teacher. The teacher can quietly alert other teachers to keep an eye on the situation and catch the bully red-handed. If you find it hard to speak to the teacher, you can always write a note.
  • Tell a friend whom you can trust. Remember it's good to have a witness whenever possible. If you feel that you would like some moral support, ask your friend to accompany you to see the teacher.
  • Tell a parent or guardian. It will not stop unless you speak out.
  • Keep a record of the dates, times and instances when the bullying occurs.
  • If your health is being affected in any way, speak to your family doctor. It is always a good idea to speak to a counsellor. Many schools today have a school counsellor; if not, they can arrange for you to have access to a counsellor who is specially trained to help support you during this unpleasant period.

Sometimes, the bullying spills outside school hours, and the school may not wish to get involved. Where this happens, you can tell the police about the bullying. Remember that the age of criminal responsibility in England and Wales is 10 so if the people bullying you are older than that, your parents can make a complaint to the police. Hitting or kicking is an assault and calling you names or making rude gestures over and over again, could be harassment.

The police have the power to apply for an ASBO (Anti-Social Behaviour Order) to keep the bully or bullies away from you.

Remember: No one has the right to bully you.

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