Bullying Experts: Some Popular Measures Inflict Their Own Pain
Some schools have tried “peer mediation” where you bring the victim and the bully together in the same room. Child Psychologist Melissa Martin discourages that one.
“You want them to make amends and make friends, and go on with life," says Martin. "And what usually has happened is the bully goes more covert, and makes sure that they do the bullying outside of the range of the teachers, staff, or any adults.”
This covert bullying can happen in the halls, playgrounds, or through social media.
Martin says you can’t ignore it or the bullying will only intensify, while kicking them out of school as part of a “zero tolerance” philosophy only delays addressing their bad behavior.
Julian Dooley, a psychologist at the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas Psychiatric Clinic, says the best tactic is proactive, ongoing and involves the entire school.
“You do want the whole school to say, “This is not acceptable,” because behaviors will be extinguished much, much, quicker," says Dooley. "Unfortunately, I think it’s like an unintended consequence of having a Bullying Prevention Awareness Month because nobody really pays as much attention to it the other 11 months of the year. And the reality is, that it’s something we should always be paying attention to.”
Sometimes victims strike back. This includes a recent threat against Twinsburg High where a student posted photos of the Columbine shooters to an Instagram account. The perpetrator says he only wanted to scare some classmates who were tormenting him.