What are good ways for a school to deal with a bully?

Even while academics take up all of a student’s time and efforts, it is unfortunately not the only stressor that children have to deal with in school. Often, bullying becomes one of the most prevalent troublesome activities in school, affecting students of all age-groups. Typically, schools impose strict punishment on students who engage in bullying, penalizing or suspending them from school. However, just like all other areas concerning discipline, such punishment is usually not a long-term or relevant strategy to tackle bullying.

This is because while the bully may ostensibly come across as strong and powerful, the act by itself originates from a place of inferiority and low self-esteem. This is not to say that the bully should not be discouraged from committing such acts and many schools today adopt a zero-tolerance policy to bullying.

However, exercising certain basic measures to prevent and remedy bullying can go a long way:

  • Encourage open dialogue about bullying: Firstly, teachers must understand that it is okay to openly discuss bullying with their students and help them realize why it is harmful to the potential victims as well as the bullies. Conducting workshops on topics like compassion and love can help students to cope better with their emotions instead of harming another individual to feel more powerful.
  • Help the child to seek professional help: In the event that bullying ever does take place in the school campus or you find in a student the characteristics of a potential bully, ensure that you help him/her to seek professional help. The international school in Kuala Lumpur and those of other reputed schools worldwide consist of mental health cells to counsel and educate students to cope better. A child, who behaves as a bully, should be provided the support to understand the error of their actions. Moreover, the child subjected to bullying must also be provided with timely help and care to ensure that the incident does not shatter his/her sense of self.
  • Create support groups and social setups for students: Another solution is to create social support groups for students, allowing them to interact with one another through group activities and events. Such peer groups help to establish and maintain strong social relations between the students, thus reducing the possibilities of bullying and other anti-social behavioural patterns.
  •  Create an atmosphere that listens to grievances: Often, violent acts like bullying become the means of expression for children who are not heard in their social environments. Such children resort to bullying as an outlet to feel powerful and garner attention. Listening to students and providing them with the emotional space to express themselves can go a long way in preventing bullying and violence. Reputed schools across the world understand the importance of empathy and sensitivity and provide their students with the care and attention they deserve.

Above all, school authorities must remember that children actively absorb the stimuli from the environments they are exposed to. Providing them with a healthy and receptive environment that pays attention to their social and emotional needs can help prevent acts like bullying.


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