Do you remember your first experience with bullying at school? Perhaps it was when you were a student in primary school and you saw another child get pushed over. Maybe you were the child being pushed. There’s a chance you were even the child doing the pushing. Bullying has been around as long as schools have been open, and, like most things, it has changed with the times to reflect what is prominent in our culture. You’d be less likely to hear about someone having their lunch money stolen today than you would be someone seeing something malicious on the Internet; not that the former doesn’t happen, but the umbrella term is now so wide it can be a little trickier to define.
Statistics by the Anti-Bullying Alliance show that in a survey of over 200,000, 46% of students and young people said they’d been a victim of bullying at some point in their life. That’s a staggering number of children who have been made to feel threatened. Our library of page ideas includes a number of templates that schools can include in their planners to communicate policies on bullying; these are all completely customisable depending on what is relevant to you.
In demonstrating how important we feel policies on bullying are, we wanted to take this week to share with you some stories from the School Planner team. There’s a broad spectrum of age ranges, underlining just how much the experience of bullying can stay with a child right up through adulthood. If you have a story you’d like to share (anonymously is fine), we’d happily add it to this post – just drop us a line here.
Check back daily this week for updates to this post with a new story from our team here at Planner headquarters.
“My experience of bullying came from my closest friends at the end of primary school into the start of secondary school. Being quite a passive person they felt they could dominate me. Not physically, but mentally. I did as much as I could to avoid these ‘friends’ outside of school which included pretending I had to tidy my bedroom! One of my other friends helped me escape this circle of ‘friendship’ and thankfully I gained a new circle of friends who liked me for who I was.”
“I received a lot of racial bullying in my first year of secondary school. This was due to the fact that other students learned that I was part German and had German relatives. The majority of those that bullied me either had a lack of understanding of history compared to those who deliberately just went out of their way to do it just for the sake of it. I did use to fight back, not physically, but try to educate them that not all Germans in the war were bad, even those who served in the forces. I was called an array of insulting names and being deemed a Nazi as well as my grandparents being Nazis. The teachers never showed any interest or helped at the time and it got to a point where I could no longer take it and did end up fighting in class as a result. I remember it well because it was against one of the ring leaders of the group and I recall him sitting at the back of the class crying while the teacher had me sit the other side of class where I sat laughing to myself because I felt I had got my own back. Though this at the time was somewhat counterproductive as it seemed to send a message to other troubled children that they picked on me later because they wanted to fight. Frustrating and annoying because I never looked for it, but it always came my way and I always tried to walk away from it which made it worse!
I would go home and I did use to tell my parents about what had happened at school, and when they found out I had been in a fight, my father decided he would take action and stop me attending school until they moved me to another tutor group. That way I would be away from the children who constantly felt the need to pick on me. The bullying I received for being German did pretty much stop when I moved tutor group, I think I had about a week off school because of it? To this day I still feel the school didn’t take any bullying seriously enough and didn’t see a problem at all.”
“In Year 7, I got pulled off a chair in a lesson by a girl sat behind me. She laughed while I cried mostly from shock. I was asked what I did to provoke it and that pretty much set the tone for the rest of my schooling until Sixth Form. When I had my wrist broken in a physical attack on the school bus, the head of our year suggested my parents start driving me to school. When I had globs of chewing gum squashed into my hair causing it to be dramatically cut, I was moved to a different English class. There were several ‘regulars’ that used to sit in the school library at lunchtime, each hiding from their respective aggressors.
We never saw bullies get any more serious reprimanding than lunchtime detention or told to ‘stand in the hall’, which they mostly thought was hilarious. If anything, teachers seemed to seek to ‘understand’ the bullies often at the detriment to the victim’s wellbeing, and the result was that for years I felt as though I was to blame, that somehow I invited the abuse.”
You can read more about the Anti-Bullying Alliance here.