Being bullied can make us feel isolated, upset and helpless. If we have to deal with a bully at school almost every day, it can often feel even more difficult.
Bullying in school can range from hurtful teasing and verbal abuse to physical attacks like punching or shoving. Even though there are many types of bullying, it is never acceptable.
Here are a few steps to take if you’re being bullied at school.
Report the bullying
Dealing with bullies alone is extremely difficult so reach out to an adult you can trust. Tell them how you’re feeling and what the bully has done to you. A parent, carer, teacher or guidance counsellor will be able to take action to stop the bullying.
Remember: there is never a good reason to hide bullying from people who can help you. Bullying does not build character or make you a stronger person. So if it happens to you, make sure it’s dealt with quickly by telling someone who can help you.
Track the bullying
Keep a journal and take note of dates, times and places where the bullying occurs. Note who is doing it and who is there when it happens. If someone is cyberbullying you, take screenshots.
This will help you remember the incidents clearly when you report it to a parent, carer, teacher or principal.
Practice being assertive
Bullies feed off other people’s reactions, so try to remain calm and be assertive. Hold your head high, stand up straight and be comfortable saying ‘no’ if someone is pressuring you to do something.
If you feel the need to respond to the bully, speak to them calmly and politely. Say something like: “I don’t like it when you call me names. Call me by my real name.”
Never respond by bullying back or physically attacking the bully. This could end badly or get you into trouble.
Is bullying against the law?
Most forms of bullying are not against the law. However, you may be able to report some bullying to An Garda Síochána, such as:
Knowing what to do when you’re being bullied is difficult, but Childline is always here to help. Call 1800 66 66 66, or chat online at Childline.ie, 24 hours a day, every day.
If you are worried that bullying might be taking place in your school, we have a Shield Anti-Bullying programme that helps support schools and organisations in managing bullying and protecting children and young people from bullying.
Schools can learn more about the programme and how they can achieve Shield Status on ispcc.ie/shield-anti-bullying-programme/