What is a Bystander?
A bystander is someone who happens to be there when something happens, so in the case of bullying, a bystander is someone who watches or sees the bullying take place.
We all have the power to influence the lives of others around us. The things we choose to say and do can affect those people.
If you see bullying happening you might choose to do one of these four things:
1. Stand and watch
It is normal to be curious and to want to see what’s going on, but if you don’t do something to help the person being bullied, that puts you on the same side as the bully themselves. You are giving them your support. Is that a good choice to make?
2. Join in
Maybe the bully is your friend. Maybe you are worried that if you don’t join in they might pick on you next. Maybe you don’t really like the person being bullied. There might be a number of reasons why you might take sides with a bully, but by doing that, you are using your own power in the wrong way. Everyone likes to feel powerful sometimes but would this choice make you feel good about your own behaviour?
3. Walk away
You might think that you don’t want to get involved and that it’s best to stay out of trouble. You might be worried that if you hang around you might get hurt or picked on too. Walking away would help to keep you safe but it could also send the message that you think what the bully is doing is OK. It suggests that you don’t care that someone is being hurt. Is that what you believe? What if one day it was you who was being bullied and everybody walked away? How would you feel?
4. Take action
If you see someone being hurt it is normal to want to help, but you need to think carefully about the best way to do that and make sure that you keep yourself safe. There are a number of things you could do:
- You may try to stop it happening by saying something and getting others to say something. You may go to help the person being bullied.
- You may try pulling the bully or bullies away, but only if it is safe for you to do so.
- You may try getting help, for example, asking others to help or getting an adult to come and stop the bullying. This might be the best thing to do if you are worried about what might happen if you stand up to the bully yourself.
- You may offer to act as a mediator – someone who listens to both sides and tries to help resolve the conflict.
Taking action is probably the hardest choice to make. You need to be brave to make a stand but it shows that you don’t support bullying and you won’t put up with it at our school. We want everyone at Cuddington Croft to work together against bullying and the staff are all here to support you to make a fantastic choice, be brave and take action.
But what do we do afterwards? It is really important to be kind to the person who was bullied at other times and to act as a witness to what happened. This sends the message that bullying is not seen as OK by you, your friends and your school.
Click here to find out more about being a bystander.