Anti-bullying arsenal

2009-08-21 16:22

SIMPLY by taking the following actions recommended by Childline and Megan de

Beyer, your children should be able to protect themselves from bullies:

Stay in safe areas of the school at break and lunchtime where there are plenty

of other people around. Bullies do not like anyone seeing what they are doing.

Report it. It is an option to report the bullying to a teacher, housemaster,

counsellor, chaplain or the principal. Keep reporting it until action is taken.

On the school bus try to sit near the driver or, if it is an ordinary bus, close

to any adults. If you have to walk part of the way and you are afraid of the

bully finding you, then change your route, try to leave home and school later or

earlier, or see if you can walk with other people who live near you, even if

they’re older or younger.

If you have a cellphone, be careful who you give your number to. If you receive

threatening phone calls or emails, tell your parents. It is against the law for

anyone to send offensive or threatening phone messages, and if it continues it

can also amount to harassment. The police can, and do, take action.

If you see anyone else being bullied at your school, please tell someone about

it – but don’t get into trouble with the bullies; do it without anyone noticing.

Tell a teacher when you get a chance and there is nobody else around. Bullied

people need friends, so if you can help someone who is unhappy please do so.

Ignore it. This often works, but it will take time and the teasing may get worse

as other children test your strength. It is hard to ignore teasing – you could

count to yourself, walk away from the situation, concentrate on your breathing

or flex and release your muscles to remind yourself of your inner strength.

Sign up for self-defence classes. It’s generally a bad idea to meet aggression

with aggression, but some experts advocate self-defence or martial arts classes

as this may help you to feel more confident and safer. Research shows that if

you look confident you are unlikely to be victimised.

De Beyer will be running a “fathers and sons” course at St Stithian’s College in

Randburg from September 11-13 and will also give a talk at Bellavista School in

Johannesburg. For more information on her courses countrywide, email Megan De

Beyer on megan@alternet.co.za

Call for help

Call these numbers for free and you will get help.

Safe Schools Call Centre: 0800 45 46 47

Childline toll-free line: 0800 05 55 55

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