Can we stop bullying in schools?
Bullying seems to be the new phenomenon that everybody is interested in. Governments issue new laws, films are produced; actions are taken all around the world to raise awareness about this silent epidemic. Does this really work? Can we stop it in schools? Can we stop the teasing, the calling names? Maybe, maybe not. Let me share with you my son’s story first, and we will answer that question after.
Bullying: My son’s story
My son was born with severe strabismus. He went through multiple surgeries. Everything is fine. except for the 3D dimension. He cannot see in depth. He has hard time playing soccer, tennis, running. He walks in an awkward way and stumbles often. His classmates noticed that and started teasing him. He did not know how to react. He started laughing loud, giggling. They teased him even more, called him stupid, dirty, etc. At first I thought it was teasing, until one day he told me that nobody wanted to play with him because someone called him a bad name.
This is where as parents we intervened. We met the school staff, the teachers, and the counselors. At first, they told us it was my son’s fault. He needed some behavioral therapy. We started one at school. But the bullying continued. Each year it was a different person, a different kind.
Until one day we threatened to call the media, the police and every person on earth if the school did not take an appropriate action. It worked. They took serious actions. The bullies were severely punished. It stopped! Unfortunately, the emotional damage was already done.
Can we stop bullying?
Yes, we can! As parents, teachers, community we can stop it. How?
- If you notice that a child is being intimidated in the park, you need to intervene and stop that. Adult intervention is one of the best ways to stop bullying!
- Talk with the school staff, be involved at the school, and show the other kids that you are there for your child. The bully will know that that the victims have adult support. They will think twice before bullying your child
- Don’t give up: it may take time to stop the bullying. Continue to be there for your child. Listen to his stories, and help him.
Bullying should be prevented as soon as possible if it becomes an issue because children can be traumatised from it at an early age. The fear of being bullied can stay with a victim for years, which is another reason why it must be stopped from happening in the first place. Depression and anxiety can develop as mental illnesses due to bullying. These can completely alter a person’s personality and could disrupt their education and their future massively.
About the author
Olfa is a mom of 2 wonderful children. She is the founder and Editor of OurFamilyWorld: an online magazine for busy parents looking for family balance.