A large number of schools across the country use new and creative ways of combating bullying to protect their students. Bullying can leave students feeling depressed and anxious, and some students may even feel so scared that they stop coming to school. Some of the more creative ideas can help you protect your own students too.
One way you can educate your students and show them that bullying is dangerous is with a film screening. “BULLY” is a popular documentary that came out in 2012 and still resonates today. This full-length documentary features five kids who live with bullies in school and how that bullying affected them. If you want to get kids talking about what they saw, you can host a short discussion later and let them tell their own stories and ask questions. You can even pass around handouts that have discussion questions listed that your kids can talk about after watching the film.
Some schools now offer peer counseling as a way to help students. The idea is that if more than one person speaks up and speaks out, more students will listen. If one student tells a bully to stop, that individual may keep going because or she doesn’t feel threatened. When a group of students tells that same person to stop, the bully will usually quit. With peer counseling, students get help from an older student. The younger student can talk about the bullying that they face and get help fighting back. Older students working as counselors can tell bullies to knock it off when they see them acting out in school.
The more students get involved in an anti-bullying campaign, the more they’ll remember the helpful information they learned. A great way to get kids involved is with a simple contest. Ask kids to create a poster, a song or something else that lists some of the common signs of bullying or how kids can fight back against bullies. You can arrange for kids to present their projects in front of other classes and let the classes vote on a winner. Kids will learn at the same time that they have fun.
Reverse the Tables
Another way schools are combating bullying is with projects that turn the tables on bullies. This works best in schools that have small cliques or other students who always seem to take control. Turn students into kings, queens, princesses and princes for the day. The students responsible for bullying becoming serfs or slaves. They must spend the day doing anything and everything the other students ask. Putting them in the shoes of those they bullied can help them realize that their actions are harmful to others.
Diana Award’s Anti-Bullying Campaign recommends hosting an anti-bullying day and encouraging students to dress as their favorite heroes and heroines. Those heroes and heroines may not necessarily fight bullies but do speak out for the underdogs and help those in need. Ask kids to stand in the front of the room and talk about they chose the characters they did and what those characters would do to help victims of bullies. This simple task encourages kids to speak up and to realize that they can fight back against their own bullies.
While you may want to change the bullying policies that your school has in place and urge teachers to do something about the bullying they see, you can also use some of the activities and ideas that other schools used. Creative ways of combating bullying will help you protect your students and learn more about fighting back.