School bullying comes in various forms and none are a joy to experience. Some bullies are violent and unstable, some are insecure and mean, and others were victims of bullying and so they are lashing out at someone else. There are kids who bully others so they can be accepted as peers of the bullies and not become victims themselves. There are many reasons why kids might bully other kids but there is no right reason for it to take place.
Bullying is wrong
Bullying is wrong because they are not following the example of Jesus who wanted us to love others, even our enemies. Paul told us to esteem others better than ourselves in Philippians 2:3:
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
We are to serve others and be a light to show the example of Christ. A bully introduces darkness into someone’s world, not light. Sadly, there are kids who have killed themselves because they were tired of being the victim of bullies. How sad to think that you could contribute to someone feeling so bad about themselves that they would take their own life!
Don’t Be A Bully
If you are picking on kids because they are younger, smaller, or different from you, please stop. Stop now. You are not making yourself look bigger or better, although you may get some laughs when you pick on someone. You know that you don’t feel better deep down inside when you do it. You need to know that you are losing the respect of others although they may not tell you to your face. Remember also that bullies often become the victim of bigger bullies who want to prove that they are the boss, not you.
Don’t Be Bullied
If you are the victim of a bully, speak up. When I was in school teachers and the principal might take reports a bully seriously or might not. The world is different today and school officials usually take reports of bullying very seriously. Tell your parents and teachers what is occurring and how it affects you. The administrators will talk with the parents and the student about the behavior and that they want it stopped. If the bully gives you a hard time for telling on him, report it again. The bully will eventually learn to be quiet.
When Jesus told us to turn the other cheek, He was not saying that it is fine for everyone in the world to abuse you. We do not need to be vengeful when others wrong us but we can ask our parents and teachers to stop the bullying. If the adults you are talking to aren’t helping, find other adults to help until the bullying stops.
If you see someone being bullied, do not join in the taunting or picking. Don’t walk by and ignore it either. Stop it either by getting an adult to intervene or, if you feel comfortable that taking up for the victim you will not start a fight or endanger yourself, tell the bully to stop and leave the victim alone. If he does not, immediately get an adult to step in, don’t try to do good by starting a fight. In most cases, someone standing up for the victim is enough to make the bully feel uncomfortable and leave, especially if others tell him to quit after you speak up. I’ve had to deal with bullies in my life and appreciated when others stood up for me.
The Tragic Costs
As I noted above, there are some kids who will commit suicide to get relief from bullying. If you are a victim, get help from adults to stop the bully and if they do not listen, find other adults who will help you. The situation is never so bad that you should want to kill yourself. Most of the kids you are in school with you will never see again when you are out of school and they will have no influence in your life. It is wrong for people to pick on you and you have every right to demand that it cease. The unhappiness and trouble caused by bullying is an unnecessary pain that some people have to endure. I know firsthand from experiences I’ve had with bullies when I was in school. But you can be stronger for overcoming this unfortunate circumstance.
In the next few articles we will discuss cyber-bullying and the two types of bullies: the violent bully and the jerk.