How many times have you heard the term, “Fight! Fight!” or “Girl fight!” on campus where you attend school? Weekly, daily, or more frequently? Then it seems as if everyone rushes to where the fight is happening to watch. Some kids actively get involved by getting some punches in. Some egg it on, yelling for their favorite fighter. Some video record and upload the YouTube, but many stand by and watch.
All of the above actions are an involvement in bullying the victim. Even standing by, just watching, lends passive support to the bully, not the victim.
I would say that most schools do not condone violence on or off campus. I would also say that violence to any degree occurs in both places every day, whether it is through words, texts, videos, or physically pushing people around.
A bully will not stop his behavior by himself. Teachers, administrators, and parents have only a limited effect to stop a bully. Often a victim feels powerless to do anything. This leaves one very important group with the power to stop this behavior: the bystanders, you and me. Whenever we see others picking on someone else, we have a choice to make. Our choice is our level of involvement.
The choice can be viewed on a continuum. To the left and beyond is participation in the bullying. Movement to the right on the line supports the victim and helps to stop the behavior. (Check out the diagram below.)
Notice that at any point you can seek the help of an adult to support your choice.
To the left, just hoping the bullying behavior stops lends support to the victim. Although it is passive, it leans in the right direction. Once you begin to take steps to actively help the victim (for example, by talking to them, keeping them company, walking with them to class, seeking out help for the victim) now you have become an activist in stopping the violence.
Just a note of caution: when there is an ongoing fight do not put yourself in harms way.
So the question to ask yourself is this, “Where will I stand on the line?”
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