How to Stop Bullying in Middle School

Instructor: Shannon Orr
How can we avoid students being subjected to mental or physical harm in our schools through bullying? This lesson is designed to define and discuss tips to identify and eliminate bullying.

It's Not Just a Part of Life

Many adults respond as if bullying is some sort of rite of passage from one stage of life to another but it's not. Bullying is serious and could lead to a student doing harm to him or herself and/or others. When a student tells a teacher that they are being bullied, it is the teacher's responsibility to ensure that the negative behavior is not only addressed but eliminated so that no further problems occurs.

Communication is Key

One of the most important things a teacher can give to their students is the right to speak freely. Students should not only feel comfortable expressing themselves regarding academics, but also feel assured that they can share information with their teacher regarding what may be happening in their lives. From the very first day of school, teachers should express and explain that everyone in his/her class is important and that it takes each individual to build the class family structure. The teacher should encourage students to support each other in the same manner that they would protect a younger sibling. Installing this mindset helps to establish and further build relationships between students which can help reduce the presence of bullying.

Bullying is when an individual or individuals say or do things to another individual or individuals that could cause mental and/or physical harm. The root issue of bullying is usually linked to unresolved issues of the 'bullier'. This is why it is important to encourage students to tell someone if they feel they are being bullied and not just put up with the bullying. Ignoring this behavior may cause the bully not to pick on that particular student anymore but it won't help address the underlying problems the 'bully' is facing. If teachers, counselors, and/or administrators can help to correct the root problem, they not only put an end to the bullying of other students; they also also answer the call for help from the 'bully'.

Some students may not tell a teacher they are being bullied, so it is important to be able identify signs of bullying. If a student is being constantly picked on, that would be considered bullying. Bullying is also when students who are bigger or stronger than others use their size or strength to intimidate. Some bullying may not occur in the classroom. Cyber Bullying is when students are harassed via the use of some type of technology. Students may receive emails or messages that are designed to cause fear or embarrassment. Whatever type of bullying that is occurring must be identified, addressed, and eliminated so that students can focus on their education.

Establishing No Tolerance Rules

Bullying must not be tolerated on any level . School staff as a whole has to be a united force in combatting this serious behavior. Waiting until something major happens may be too late. There have been numerous reports of students committing suicide and/or causing bodily harm to themselves and others as a result of being bullied. The school should establish a zero tolerance program that states if any student bullies another student, they will be suspended or expelled depending on the severity of the incident. This shows that the adults take bullying seriously and that student safety is a priority.

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