5 Examples of How You Shouldn’t Deal With Bullying

It seems like a day doesn’t go by where we don’t hear news of some sort of bullying incident. That’s really no surprise when you consider that over 70 percent of students say they have witnessed bullying happening in their schools.

While many schools have taken measures to combat the problem, they just might be going about it the wrong way. Turns out that while it is important to teach children about respect and the dangers associated with bullying, the same advice should be taken by the people enforcing the rules. Here are five examples of how you shouldn’t deal with bullying. Responsible adults, please take note.

1. Dont Give Dangerous Advice

In an effort to curtail bullying at their school, fifth-grade students from Zeman Elementary School in Lincoln, Neb., were sent home with a bullying advice flyer. You would think this would be a good thing, until you actually read the advice be given:

Rule #2: Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you.

This rules goes on to say, “Be grateful and think they really care about you.” Be grateful that you are being bullied? Think the bully is trying to help you? The message here is that bullying is a good thing. What’s to stop a kid reading this from going on to bully other kids in an effort to help them out or excuse their own behavior?

Rule #7: Do not tell on bullies.

This is probably the most dangerous of the rules which goes on to say “tell an adult only when a real injury or crime has occurred.” School should be a safe place where children go first and foremost to learn. If the adults don’t know what’s going on how can they create this safe space? This seems more like a rule so that administrators don’t have to deal with the problem.

Rule #9: Learn to laugh at yourself and not get “hooked” by put downs.

This rule goes on to suggest making a joke about the bullying or agreeing with the put down and saying something like, “If you think I’m ugly, you should see my sister!” I mean, really?

After much outrage from parents, the school has since apologized for the flyer and circulated a fact sheet about bullying that is far more informative than this flyer, which would have done more good in the trash.

2. Dont Encourage Victims to Seek Revenge

Over the years there have been countless PSA’s created to combat bullying. The latest from VH1, however, really misses the mark. Take a look for yourself to see what I mean:

The premise of the campaign is that children shouldn’t bully because one day their victims will seek out revenge on them in the professional world. And that victims should buck up and “survive” the bullying because one day they will have the upper hand.

Seeking revenge of any kind is not the right lesson to teach children, let alone use as a means to combat bullying. Beyond these very obvious problems, there is also the fact that the examples of bullying being portrayed in the video are extremely exaggerated. Bullying can happen in much subtler ways and nowadays it often happens online rather than in person, but that doesn’t mean the bullying is any less serious or damaging.

The only redeeming quality about this PSA is that it is set to the melody of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

3. Dont Mock Victims

Bullying has become a talking point for many politicians.

Well, Central California’s mayor Cameron Hamilton is proof of what you shouldn’t say on the issue. In response to a student-led anti-bullying effort which would establish off-campus safe zones throughout the city for teens who are being bullied after school, Hamilton had the following to say:

I mean, I am against bullying, but I am getting damn tired of it [bullying] being used as a mantra for everything that ills the world when all most people have to do is a grow a pair and stick up for them damn selves.

Does Hamilton regret his remarks or apologized? Nope. In fact, after reading comments about his statement his response is, “it appears that the majority of our country has decided to speak up and say they agree with my analogy and are fed up with the zero-tolerance policy of our public schools.”

Not sure who agrees with Hamilton, but I think we can all agree here that telling bullying victims to “grow a pair” is not the best way to deal with bullying.

4. Dont Minimize Bullying Consequences

The most tragic outcome of bullying is ultimately suicide, and Alyssa Funke is was of the latest victims.

After days of relentless online bullying for her performance in a series of adult films, the 19-year-old University of Wisconsin-River Falls student bought herself a gun and took her own life.

Despite the clear correlation between the suicide and cyber bullying, police have concluded that what happened to Funke didn’t constitute as harassment and instead blamed her involvement in porn as the cause of her suicide. The school of the students who bullied Funke has also come out in their defense saying cyber bullying has never been a problem and that the students will not face any disciplinary action for what happened.

Funke’s parents are insistent that the bullying their daughter received on social media is to blame for her suicide and as such created a crowdfunding campaign to raise awareness about cyber bullying, which sadly only raised $165.

Whether or not cyber bullying is what ultimately pushed Funke to pull the trigger, it was part of the problem. Placing the blame elsewhere is a complete missed opportunity to teach children about the consequences of bullying. Minimizing the problem doesn’t make it go away. It creates a bigger one.

5. Dont Answer Bullying With Bullying (But Do Share Personal Stories)

We all know that two wrongs don’t make a right and this video proves that’s the case especially when it comes to bullying.

This story is incredibly powerful and absolutely worth the watch. Showing any young person in your life this video is absolutely a step in the right direction for humanizing the problem of bullying and dealing with it the right way.

Got any other ideas? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

Photo Credit: Twentyfour Students


Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe3 years ago

I watched the 'Bullying - Stop It' video above and it broke my heart. Kids don't have to be that mean!!!
Maybe kids should get involved in more activities so they don't have time to bully someone else!

federico bortoletto
federico b3 years ago

Grazie della condivisione.

Fatima M.
Fatima M3 years ago

To Marion W.:

Whether or not Alyssa Funke had performed in these so-called adult films is none of your business. If you think porn is wrong, I suggest you don't watch it. But you have no right to criticize her decision to do that. I was her personal choice. And no, she shouldn't have expected negative feedback. Again, because it was her personal choice and her body, she has the right to do whatever she wants with it.

And the thing you said about "this too shall pass", no, no it won't. Anyone who have ever been bullied will never forget it, even if it was years ago. You can not just "move on", your behavior changes, your body's defense mechanism will never forget it cause it hurt so much, you will start doing some things differently to avoid a situation like that to ever happen again. And also, some people will get more affected by bullying than others. An example is people who suffer from depression. They already are very insecure and feel a deep sense of hopelessness, like things just are never going to get better. So this would just push all the wrong buttons and unfortunately might make them do something like what this young girl did.

Don't mock a pain you haven't endured.

Marion W.
Marion W3 years ago

Regarding Alyssa Funke:

First, my deepest sympathy to the parents of Alyssa. This is not meant to cause you further hurt.

Although it is sad that this 19 yr. old girl killed herself, I have to think there were other deeper problems that contributed to her suicide. She was 19 and had "performed in a series of adult films." Did she think that no one would find out? Did she think it was an acceptable thing for her to do? Was she comfortable about what she had done on film?
If the answer to the last 2 questions was 'yes', she should not have been affected by the comments made on line. If she felt the first 2-3 comments were hurtful, why did she continue to read them?

She really left herself wide open to criticism by her own actions. She should have expected there would be negative feedback and accepted that there would be a lot of people who would express themselves in a mean spirited way. If she wasn't mature enough to accept the consequences of her actions, she shouldn't have been doing those actions in a public venue.

Finally, young people today seem to have lost sight of "this too, shall pass". Just because today or this year or all of school years are hell, doesn't mean there isn't something better in the future. There might have been something wonderful waiting down the road, but if you kill yourself, you will never know. Today is not forever. If you kill yourself because someone else takes their unhappiness out on you, the only people you hurt are

Marion W.
Marion W3 years ago

Re: Bullying,

When I was in grammar school, in the 1950's, I was told if someone said something mean, (hurtful, degrading) to just smile at them and then ignore them. If they didn't get a rise out of me, eventually it wasn't 'fun' for them anymore and they'd stop; also, they were probably jealous for some reason, or felt inferior and putting someone else down was their way of leveling out things. Physical bullying is a different story.

Of course, in those days, if a child told their parents that the teacher was picking on them, the parents first thought was what did their child do to warrant the extra attention. When they asked the teacher about it, they accepted the teacher's version of events. They knew children were by nature selfish and narcissistic and it was their job to get that notion out of the kid's heads.

Donna F.
Donna F3 years ago


Joanna M.
Joanna M3 years ago

I work for an urban school district, and as you can imagine, we hear an awful lot about bullying these days. Two main problems I see repeatedly:

- Parents giving their kids bad advice - A kindergartner recently got in trouble for hitting a classmate. Why? He'd been told that if anyone said anything "mean" he should just smack the person. Uh, no.

- Parents misinterpreting EVERYTHING as bullying - We have had complaints about everything under the sun being "bullying" from a preschool making a silly face at another preschooler (something that kids that age have probably done since the dawn of mankind) to things like a refusal for the child to join a lunch table because it was already packed to the gills and there was absolutely no room for another body ("That's not true! Those kids just didn't want Jayden to sit with them! They're being bullies!" IMO tossing this term around so casually just takes away from the REAL instances when it's happening, because we'll start paying less attention...til it's too late, of course...

Luis R.
Luis R3 years ago

Bullying is more common these days for several reasons: intrinsically kids are mean (see what happened in Cambodia when children were allowed to rule concentration camps by the “Khmer rouges”. It is society that provides them a code of behaviour. Or should. And here we have many reasons to understand the failure of this social teaching. Just to mention a few: TV series and movies making the apology of “let’s kill them all, I am the hero”, parent that to provide the necessary income spend very few hours at home with their kids and often when coming home they are tired and fed up due to the daily problems at the office, laws that try to forgive kid’s behaviour because someone said that punishing kids would make them future frustrated citizens. Often law does not make parents or those in charge of the kid’s education responsible for the kid’s action (fine, imprisonment). Unless these reasons are altered, bullying will go on.

Amaia Biewen
Samantha D3 years ago

I've never been successfully bullied, and I honestly think that learning to carry yourself properly is part of that. Act like you can't POSSIBLY be bullied and you won't be. I have a great "mimicking" skill, so I could pretend to be confident, but counselors, if contacted, should work on boosting the kid's self-confidence, not the pity and mollycoddling and children-should-be-wrapped-in-bubble-wrap-so-that-the-poor-dears-without-a-mean-bone-wont-accidentally-hurt-themselves-or-each-other attitude I've seen

Piotr G.
Piotr G3 years ago

"I think we can all agree here that telling bullying victims to “grow a pair” is not the best way to deal with bullying." Nope. It is quite a good advice, only some kids are too much "castrated" by their parents. Of course it's not a 100% remedy. But many times it could really make a difference. Simplyfying: alpha-style body language and social skills when understood and applied wisely - can really make a difference. Why children aren't taught this?

Please see for example this documental movie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_TijDInhnEg - "The Complete guide to alpha male behavior for seduction and social dynamics". It's long but gives interesting insights into the social dynamics.

On the other hand, kids should be also taught that it's OK to leave daydreamers and kids who look different alone and not to bully them. :)