01 Sep Bullying – What’s Your Policy?
A new school year is starting and ‘bullying’ is a topic being hotly debated on TV and in media. I’m always drawn to any discussions on bullying – anything which gets it out in the open is a good thing.
Back in junior school I was bullied; I know now that it said more about the bully than it did about me, but at that age it’s difficult to rationalise. I was geeky, ginger; my parents didn’t have ‘normal’ jobs and were older than everyone else’s. Oh, and I had a stutter too – marvellous!
Looking back, what the bullies targeted was my isolation. My brother and sisters all went to completely different schools (and were much older); I wasn’t allowed to walk to/from school and seldom allowed to visit anyone’s houses/have friends to my house. It’s far easier for the bully to target someone who is apart from everyone else – the fact I was ginger and stuttered was just a bonus.
I was lucky that a teacher realised what was happening and helped me. My parents acted swiftly – teachers, the bullies (and their parents) were warned of the consequences of allowing it to happen. I went to a different secondary school to the main bully and, after a shaky first year, thoroughly enjoyed my teenage years. Never a ‘cool’ kid, I revelled in my uniqueness and had an excellent group of mates. Because I was supported, my confidence grew. My stutter became an in-joke – a couple of years of speech therapy sorted it out; I regularly speak in public now, and only lapse when tired or stressed.
Bullying methods may have changed in the interim, with online bullying cases soaring – even bullying by text – but, from my perspective, the principle remains the same; isolate the target before attacking.
There are so many online resources available which offer advice to people being bullied and to parents, there is NO excuse for anyone to not know what to do. But how does your school track incidents and resolutions? Are your Governors aware of their responsibilities?
- Children and Young People Now
- Thinkuknow Teachers and Trainers Area (CEOP)
- GovernorNet discussion forum
- Teachers TV