School Bus Bullying: How to React to Bullying
published on February 20, 2015 by Lisa London
It is estimated that nearly one in five students are subjected to school bus bullying. A parent’s initial reaction may be to rush in and protect their child. However, this may not be the best response since parents cannot be present every time a bullying incident may occur. There are steps that both students and parents can take to prevent and eliminate bullying on the school bus.
In the moment a student should walk away if possible. Sometimes when they are confined to a small space like the school bus it can be almost impossible to remove themselves from the situation. A student should also feel free to say stop in a firm, but calm manner. A student shouldn’t try to further agitate the situation, but to keep their cool. It is important to remain in control of your emotions in the moment. Showing fear or anger may trigger the aggressor even more. A student also shouldn’t fight or try to bully back in response. This can just serve to continue the cycle of bad behavior.
After the incident someone who is being bullied should tell a friend or report the incident to an adult. Bullying should never be kept a secret. It is important to tell someone and ask for support. Remaining silent will not make the situation better and may just make things worse. Students need to understand that reporting a serious problem is not the same as “tattling” on someone.
Over time a student that is being bullied needs to find safe spaces. They need to try and avoid any danger zones where they could potentially put themselves in harm’s way. They can find a different seat on the bus where they can distance themselves from the bully. They can also sit near the driver since the bully is less likely to cause a scene where there is direct adult supervision. They can also sit with their friends on the bus who can serve as a support system to ensure their safety.
Parents play an active role in the response to bullying as well. They should check with the school’s bullying prevention policies and report all incidents to the proper authorities. Parents can even keep information such as the students name confidential in an attempt to avoid increased bullying or further retaliation. They should always be good listeners and encourage their child or children to tell adults if an incident occurs. Parents should also teach them responsible bus riding behavior. Some students may not be victims of bullying, but may be witnesses to incidents of bullying and need to understand how to conduct themselves responsibly while riding the bus. Parents should also try to avoid encouraging retaliation or fighting and instead focus on positive bully prevention strategies.