Bullying: Changing Behaviors, Changing Old School Ways – Helping Everybody

By Ross Ellis

As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of STOMP Out Bullying™ I received an email from a past school administrator.

The email suggested that bullying could be curtailed by at least 50% if at the first offense the bully and his/her parents were brought to a conference and when found guilty, the bully would get 5 days ISS. The second offense would also result in a parent conference with the bully receiving 5 days OSS, and the third offense with a parent conference would result in school expulsion – but not district expulsion – leaving the parents with the responsibility of finding another school for their child without assistance from the district.

The former administrator believes this will for sure curb bullying.

Our thanks to the administrator for their suggestion.

Is truly remarkable that so many people want to see bullies expelled. And this even more remarkable as it is throwing the problem in someone else’s lap with no solution.

Both victims of bullying and the bullies need help. We must help the victims immediately and not sweep the issue under the rug. Yet, we must also get help for the bullies who need behavior management therapy – rather than expulsion. And yes, there does need to be consequences for a bully’s behavior. However anyone that suggests expulsion might as well put the bully in prison and throw away the key.

When I emailed this to the past administrator, they said “slaps on the wrists” don’t work.

That’s news that behavior management therapy would be considered a slap on the wrist.

The past administrator also reminded me of all of the suicides in relation to bullying and that our prisons are filled with bullying. Unfortunately no reminder is needed for either.

The administrator responded with “No need to reply. I’m not interested anymore.”

It’s truly unfortunate that this seems to be the way many school administrators feel. But should we handle all bullies in this manner and leave it to one school after another to resolve the problem when the end result could be that the bullies end up in prison anyway?

Most bullying prevention experts will agree that both victims and bullies need help.

It’s bad enough that the victims have to endure the torment they go through from kids who use repeated cruelty and behaviors. The victims need therapy and a lot more because the end goal is to get them away from the bully and not let it get to the point where they feel suicide is the answer. Not only is suicide never the answer, but it empowers the bully even more – because they see it as “how they won!” We also have to ensure that the victim gets counseling and does not let bullying define their lives.

Yet, bullies must change their behaviors –not only to stop the cruelty, but to ensure that they don’t repeat these behaviors throughout life. And to ensure that others are not being hurt by their behaviors.

In essence – help both victim and the bully and that curtails bullying a lot more than putting the problem in someone else’s lap.

Bullying doesn’t belong in someone else’s lap. It must stop! Behaviors must change! Old ways of thinking must change as well.