Ideas for Kids – Make School Safer from Bullies
Author: Lynne Namka, Ed. D
Want to help your school cut down on bullying? The recent research is finding that young people who turn to violence may have been bullied themselves in the past. They feel bad about themselves and try to hurt others and then feel superior. Children who resort to violent acts often feel excluded by their peers. They harbor fantasy thoughts of revenge which they sometimes carry out.
Two things you and your friends can initiate at your school that are fairly simple to do and have little risk are Bus Stop Buddies and The Swarm.
Bus Stop Buddies
Drive by any bus stop and you will see young people waiting for a ride looking miserable as they are not included in any of the groups that are standing around. Children who are left out of the crowd at bus stops look awkward and uncomfortable.
Who makes the rules about who talks to whom at bus stops? You do! Why not include of everyone, rather than rejecting others during the morning wait? All it takes is a smile, a hello and some chit chat.
Those of you in the “in groups” can change these rules by becoming “Bus Stop Buddies” with everyone. It’s no big deal, you are not signing up to be their life long best friend or even hang out with them during school breaks.
If you feel you need to, you can even set your boundaries by saying –“I’m trying an experiment to make bus waiting less of a hassle by creating ‘Bus Stop Buddies.’ It doesn’t mean that we will hang at school. Want to try it? Maybe Bus Stop Buddies will catch on and spread to other bus stops.”
Of course, if the person is rude or crude, you can tell them you don’t appreciate that type of behavior in your buddies. Just say something like, “Hey! If you want to hang out with us at the bus stop, knock off the …………..” Boundary setting in a necessary skill to learn in friendships.
Who knows? Befriending someone who needs a friendly smile early morning may give a better start to your day and to theirs!
You and your friends can make a big effect when you see someone being bullied. You do ‘The Swarm! ‘ It goes like this. You notice someone being picked on. If you stand and watch, you are giving power to the bully. To break into the situation, ask your friends if they want to swarm over and rescue the victim. All you have to do is say, “Swarm?”
You gather a group of people together like you are a swarm of bees coming from a hive. Walk towards the victim and take his or her hand or lock arms and pull them into your swarm. Leave with them and pull them away from the ugly situation. Move to another part of the play ground. The surprise element will defuse the situation.
What fun to see the look on the person who is bullying’s face! This is group power making a statement that people are to be treated with respect.
Then if you want, you can do a Second Swarm. You ask your fellow swarmers, “Second Swarm?’ If they agree, go back in a group to the person who has been bullying and catch him or her up in the swarm! And several of you say to that person, “No more of that stuff, get it?” or something to let them know that mean behavior is not acceptable at your school.
It’s the group energy of the swarm that scatters the bullying behavior. People who try to intimidate others by mean words or actions fall apart when they face a force bigger than their own. Band together to make your school ground a safer place to be!
Do Your Part to Pass These Ideas On
Well, what if you are not part of the “in group” but are the one being excluded. Maybe you could copy this page and distribute it discretely to people you think are compassionate and want to make a difference at your school.
Try these ideas at your school.