Friday 15 March 2013 is the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. It’s an obvious opportunity to raise awareness of the bullying that continues to take place in schools and workplaces. Most schools have a zero tolerance policy for bullying. So presumably, if bullying is reported in a school, action will be taken. But the zero tolerance policies have been in place for some time and still the bullying continues. We need to do more than simply punishing the bullies. We need to make bullying uncool. And to do that – we need to enlist the help of the cool kids.
Most bullies get away with their behaviour because they have their supporters – other kids who are drawn to the bully’s strength or afraid of becoming a target themselves. If the bullies had no support, their bullying behaviour would decrease. And if the bullies and their supporters were seen to be uncool, there would be little or no incentive to prey on other kids.
It’s fairly easy to identify the cool group in each year. They’re the ones who are generally popular and confident. Provided they are not bullies themselves (which can certainly be the case), these kids can put their popularity to good use. If a popular child or adolescent tells a bully that they’re being uncool, it will have a much greater effect than if a less popular kid speaks up. If a cool kid stands up for the victim, it will be noticed more than if a less confident child or adolescent does the right thing. Obviously, if everyone says no to bullying, the bully’s power will be greatly diminished.
So if your child is in the cool group, use this National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence to encourage them to make bullying uncool.