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How? Do? You? Prevent Bullying?
Imagine for a second that cliched scene of someone being bullied-- the jock pushes a nerd up against a locker while his friends laugh, maybe a few punches are thrown, maybe it's a few harsh words. Now imagine how the bullied is always rescued in the movies-- one person stands up for them, followed by another and another, until, miraculously, the bullies are outnumbered and the morally conscious students stand together in a unified front.
This scene is all well and good, there is just one key problem; it happens in the movies. Not real life. No, in real life, the bullying is not so cliched, much more subtle, and the “morally conscious” students are nowhere to be seen, scattering away or hiding behind masks of grins before they become the next target.
What now seems to be the biggest question among school staff, even bigger than how to get grades up or how to cut back costs, is how to prevent bullying. So, with so many people searching for the answer, someone must know. How *do* you prevent bullying?
At first glance, the answer seems to be a quick snap and point; you enforce harsher punishments and make catchy slogans to spread the word. Again, at first glance, that solution is effective. More people stand up to bullying with those motivational words stuck in their minds, and they stop shoving kids into lockers in plain sight of teachers.
But what happens when those words are chased away by fear and peer pressure? When bullies stop shoving kids into lockers in plain sight and start finding sneakier and smarter ways to do their malicious deeds?
Well, then you're back where you started, facing that suddenly frustrating question. *How* do you prevent bullying?
The previous answer, while it may have had some effect, fails to really solve anything. That's because the teachers all address the problem and give *their* answer. Because their answer is meant for the students. Not the student.
Bullying is not cliched and generic like in the movies, just like the solution to it isn't. Bullying is something that is specific to each and every case, which, if you're thinking logically, means that the “solution” to bullying is just as specific.
The answers to that now age-old question aren't going to come from the staff and go to the students. They're going to come from the students working through the problem themselves. They will come from hard work and patience. The teachers are just there to help along the process when need be, because, like almost everything else you need to learn in school, *you* find the answers for yourself.
The answers won't be more speedy solutions, but things that are complex and scary and tiresome and overwhelming and, hopefully, overwhelmingly effective. The answers to prevent bullying will have to reflect the bullying itself, and be specific and unique to each and every individual.
So, how do *you* prevent bullying?