Bullying continues to be a serious issue.
Earlier this week, I sat in on a presentation to grades 4 to 8 students at William Grayson School to cover a story for the paper. Const. Landon Giraudier of the Moose Jaw Police Service and Moose Jaw Warriors team members Sam Fioretti, forward, and Justin Paulic, goalie, made the presentation.
Presentations like these are important to take place in schools. We learn about bullying all the time. We know it continues to be a problem in its many forms such as physical, verbal and cyber. We know we need to actively work toward fixing it. We know we have made progress, but not enough.
Yet some of the statistics provided by Giraudier, Fioretti and Paulic still surprised me. Every seven minutes a child is bullied on the playground. Every 25 minutes a child is bullied in the classroom. Every day, thousands of kids don’t go to school because of the fear of being bullied.
Fifty per cent of bullying is verbal attacks. Ten per cent of kids who are bullied are harassed and 10 per cent of people harass.
But 80 per cent of people see bullying and don’t do anything. We need to change this statistic.
I think it’s important to remember that as a bystander, if we see someone being bullied, we should try to help in the safest way we can or we are part of the problem. Of course we shouldn’t put ourselves in harm’s way, but if we see someone being bullied we should do something.
If we are afraid for our safety, we shouldn’t stay and try to be the hero. We can be the heroes by contacting the authorities.
Even if we just console the person who was bullied or meant to feel excluded, it can make a difference. We can befriend the person who was bullied to let them know they are not alone.
We need to talk to someone about the bullying.
Sometimes, as a victim, the best solution is to ignore the bully and if there is emotional damage, talk to someone you trust about it.
Don’t give the bully a reaction because that’s exactly what they’re looking for.
Bystanders shouldn’t give the bully an audience because that too is what they want.
There are many forms of bullying and it doesn’t just happen at school. It happens to adults too. It can happen online. It can happen at work. It can happen on a team. It can happen to anyone at any time.
To me, that’s all the more reason why we should be more than a bystander. We need to talk to someone about the bullying if we are victims. We need to tell someone if we see bullying happen. We need to stand up to the bully.
And we don’t have to do that alone. Sometimes it’s scary or intimidating to tell the bully to stop. So gather a few friends and tell the bully together.
My point is there are many solutions. We don’t have to turn the other cheek and we shouldn’t. There is no one solution to resolve all bullying and we can’t stop it if we do nothing.
It takes courage to stand up for yourself. It takes courage to stand up for others. But somehow we need to find that courage because bullying needs to stop.
South African social rights activist Desmond Tutu once said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
He couldn’t be more right. We can make a change. So let’s stop waiting or making excuses.
Let’s just make one and do something to stop bullying.
Follow Lisa Goudy' on Twitter @lisagoudy.