In part one of our two-part series on bullying at schools, we highlighted some opinions from the community about bullies and bullying. This week, we’ll share advice on solving the problem of bullying in schools.
Education expert Dr Gillian Mooney says that the increase in the number and severity of bullying incidents in South African schools calls for urgent and sustained intervention, and more needs to be done to consistently support and educate learners, parents and schools to ensure the safety and well being of everyone on the school grounds.
Advice for schools:
- Demonstrate that bullying will consistently have clear and structured consequences for perpetrators.
- Bullies themselves should receive adequate support and counselling.
- Teachers can monitor bullies to deter bullying behaviour.
- Children can be taught to reduce bullying by noticing, reporting and intervening.
Advice for victims’ parents:
- Remember, children do not report everything that happens in their lives to their parents. Parents need to find ways to make reporting bullying easier for children, and to follow up effectively when they do.
- Talk about bullying with your kids and share your own experiences. Praise your child for opening up if they do so.
- Bullies are less likely to pick on groups, so remind kids to use the ‘buddy system’.
- Talking to the bully’s parents can be constructive, but it’s best to do this in a setting where someone from the school can mediate the discussion.
- If bullies are after money or gadgets, avoid your child taking these items to school.
- The best defence in the face of bullying may be to remain calm, and simply walk away. This makes the victim less interesting to the bully.
As Mooney says: “When we have a situation in our schools where known bullies continue to wreak havoc upon the lives and futures of others, knowing that the system is slow and ineffectual in responding to anti-social behaviour, we are doing the victim and our society as a whole a great injustice.”
Thus, parents, schools and children need to work together to eradicate bullying and make our schools a safe place to learn and grow.