Sunday, August 3, 2008

Anatomy of a Bystander

Bystanders can be just about anyone. We have all witnessed someone somewhere in our lifetime being bullied. For the most part, bystanders do one of two things. 1) They stand by and witness the bully bullying her victim and do and say nothing to stop the violence. 2) They join in and taunt the victim becoming bullies themselves.

Why do some children stand by and say and do nothing to stop the violence against a fellow classmate? There are a few reasons for their silence. They often do not know what to do. No one has told them to try to stop it, much less report it. Bystanders are relieved that the bully is not focused on them as the target. They are afraid to cross the bully and feel his wrath should they speak out against him.

Why do some children join in on the bullying? It would seem unconsionable that any child let alone your child would join in on the aggression. It happens much more than we realize. Again, for the same reasons that bystanders do and say nothing. They are afraid of the bully. They maybe friends with the bully. The bully may be popular and by being "in" with her, the bystander enjoys a certain level of popularity. The bully friend may protect them from another bully at school. They go along with the bullying to throw the bullies off of their own scent.

The bottom line is that our school-aged children are being terrorized on our school playgrounds each and everyday. It is a national disgrace.

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