Jun 18, 2020

Many schools around the country have started educating all students about the role of bystanders in prevention of bullying. This is an extremely important program that should be implemented by all schools.

Bystanders can play a significant role either in promoting bullying or in preventing bullying. In my own situation, one of the worst bullies had described to me (later in adulthood) that he was not getting the support and recognition within the school community that he would have liked. So he turned to bullying because he noticed that people laughed and encouraged his actions, thereby improving his self-esteem, and he felt that he then had a recognized place in the school community. He was then known for “something” instead of just another insignificant kid in the school community.

This revealing discussion clearly indicates the significant role a bystander can have in encouraging bullying. In fact, even if the bystander does not laugh or visibly encourage the actions, just by being there and witnessing it and not saying anything causes the bully to continue his/her irresponsible behavior. Of course it would be best if a bystander can step in and try to prevent the negative behavior – but as a minimum a bystander must not laugh or encourage the actions and should simply go away from the area and report it to the school authorities.

The overall impact of bullying will not be as serious if the bystanders do not encourage the actions of the bully. That is why it is so important for all school children to learn that bystanders do play a significant role in prevention of bullying.

© 2017 - Sumi Mukherjee
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