Friendly Schools and Families
Talk with your children about bystanders
Bullying involves more than the students who are bullied and those who bully others. Bullying often continues because people who are involved do not talk about it and seek help. This includes people who observe bullying - the bystanders. A bystander is someone who sees the bullying or knows that it is happening to someone else.
There may be bystanders who are afraid they may be bullied next and this may influence their decision about what they will do if they see bullying happening.
There are three common types of bystanders:
Witnesses - They do not support one group or another but play an important role in providing evidence about what took place, should they feel safe and/or responsible enough to do so.
Contributors - This group offer support to the person bullying, either by helping the person to bully the other person or by encouraging the person bullying.
Supporters - This group dislikes the bullying, is concerned for the person being bullied and actively tries to help the person being bullied.
What can bystanders do?
If students see another student being bullied they should:
- Ask a teacher for help
- Let the person doing the bullying know that what they are doing is bullying
- Refuse to join in with the bullying and walk away
- Support the student who is being bullied
- Support their friends and protect them from bullying (children who are alone are more likely to be the target of bullying, so encourage your children to be aware of children who are left out or on their own in the schoolyard).
Mr Warwick Norman
Friendly Schools and Families Coordinator