Bullies: Let’s Do More Than Ignore from Lisa Nielsen: The Innovative Educator, Lisa Nielsen states,
“WE CAN DO BETTER than ignoring hurtful behavior. We can make a difference. To do that, we must acknowledge and stand up to it. Together we can make it clear that while we embrace differing views, degrading and demeaning attacks that harm people and the work they are doing, will not be tolerated in our communities.”
I totally agree with this sentiment! Adults need to step in and take action. They do not need to stand on the sidelines and watch hurtful behavior because it only empowers the bully.
When I was younger I was bullied and I think that is what makes me timid about sharing my opinions in public. It makes me very cautious about the mob mentality when I disagree with someone. I wish I didn’t feel this way but I can’t change how I feel even though I know better.
I don’t want students to end up feeling this way like I do. They shouldn’t ever feel afraid to share their opinions even if they disagree with the majority as long as they share appropriately. By doing this, they might be able to change other people’s opinions and their thoughts may actually solve a problem that others can’t solve.
When I was being bullied, I too was told to ignore the bullies but I can’t tell you how many times I wanted an adult to step in. Back then; people said it would make me stronger to solve this problem by myself. I can tell you firsthand that it doesn’t work that way. Instead it makes the victim withdraw and feel isolated. I used to daydream that some superhero would one day rescue me. When I got in high school I used to dream that some wonderful guy would come to my defense but it never happened. I did what the adults told me to do and just ignored them. One of the ways I ignored them was by trying to fade into the woodwork. I tried to make sure I wasn’t noticed and I didn’t speak out. I didn’t share my opinions in case it didn’t agree with the bullies.
I urge teachers to step in when they see bullying. Help the victims because they are not strong enough to help themselves. If the victims feel like they aren’t alone, it will help them feel stronger. Once they start feeling stronger, it will build confidence and with that confidence, they may be able to stand up to the bully. Ignoring the bully only helps the bully become stronger. I never saw an instance of ignoring a bullying making them go away or help the victim.
I have felt bullied at work when I don’t want to join the faculty in doing something I don’t feel comfortable doing or don’t believe in. Adults may call this peer pressure but I see it as bullying when the pressure makes me feel uncomfortable doing something I don’t think is right, Now as an adult, when I’m feeling bullied, I force myself to dig my heels in and stand up for myself. Of course it helps that my husband backs me up so I don’t feel so alone.
How do you handle bullying when you see it with students? How do you handle it when you see other adults being bullied? Please share.