Parents, teachers, coaches and other caring adults can help stop bullying by responding quickly and consistently to bullying behavior. Here’s what adults can do when they see bullying.
- Intervene immediately. It is ok to get another adult to help.
- Separate the kids involved.
- Make sure everyone is safe.
- Meet any immediate medical or mental health needs.
- Stay calm. Reassure the kids involved, including bystanders.
- Model respectful behavior when you intervene.
Avoid These Common Mistakes:
- Don’t ignore it. Don’t think kids can work it out without adult help.
- Don’t immediately try to sort out the facts.
- Don’t force other kids to say publicly what they saw.
- Don’t question the children involved in front of other kids.
- Don’t talk to the kids involved together, only separately.
- Don’t make the kids involved apologize or patch up relations on the spot.
Get police help or medical attention immediately if:
- A weapon is involved.
- There are threats of serious physical injury.
- There are threats of hate-motivated violence, such as racism or homophobia.
- There is serious bodily harm.
- There is sexual abuse.
- Anyone is accused of an illegal act, such as robbery or extortion—using force to get money, property, or services.
What Parents Can Do:
- Teach your child to act with self-confidence. Confident and empathetic children are less likely to bully others, or be bullied.
- Encourage involvement in activities your kids enjoy; kids involved in group activities develop more confidence, resiliency, a better sense of belonging and more meaningful relationships.
- Help your child understand the different types of bullying – and learn to recognize the signs of bullying in your child.
- Watch out for signs of cyberbullying – notable increase or decrease of device use; emotional responses to what’s happening on their device; hiding their screen; shutting down social media accounts and/or opening new ones.
How Schools Can Get Involved:
- The Red Card campaign is best implemented in middle and high schools. Schools are able to customize the program to best fit their unique needs.
- If your school located is in the Kansas City metro area and wants to be considered for the 2019-2020 school year, please apply here: School Application
What Teachers Can Do:
- The best way to address bullying is to stop it before it starts. Incorporate the topic of bullying prevention into lessons and activities.
- Establish yourself as a clear and visible authority with responsibility for making the school experience safe and positive.
- If bullying happens: Take immediate action; notify parents of all involved students; resolve the problem expeditiously according to your school’s discipline plans.
- Encourage involvement in activities your students enjoy; kids involved in group activities develop more confidence, resiliency, a better sense of belonging and more meaningful relationships.
What Coaches Can Do:
- Begin the season with clear rules about a zero tolerance policy with athletes. Be clear that the bullying behavior is unacceptable and what the consequences will be.
- Develop an accepting culture. Allow kids to talk about bullying when they see or experience it. Ongoing conversation throughout the season reminds everyone about the shared responsibility to respect each other.
- Coaches can use activities to build camaraderie, rather than promote competition and comparison between teammates. Try physical activities even outside of practice designed to foster collaboration and teamwork.
- Coaches set the expectation of how players should treat each other. Players should see their coach being respectful and kind to all. The coach should always be seen as the advocate of a safe and healthy play environment.
- The more digital platforms a child is using, the more opportunities there are to be exposed to cyberbullying.
- Watch out for signs of cyberbullying:
- Notable increase or decrease of device use
- Emotional responses to what’s happening on their device
- Hiding their screen
- Shutting down social media accounts and/or opening new ones
- Children might also start to avoid social situations, even those they enjoyed in the past.
- If you notice warning signs: Ask questions about what’s happening; keep a record of activity including screen shots; report it to the social media platform and the police if necessary; provide support to the target of the cyberbullying.