How to block nonverbal bullying

There are many types of bullying apart from teasing. These include harassment, cyber bullying, exclusion and physical bullying. Here are some examples of ways to deal with them (and remember to check with your parents first).

VIA EMAILS, CHAT GROUPS AND TEXT MESSAGES

• Don't reply to nasty comments.

• Change your code/password, and inform only close friends.

• Alter your voicemail so that the bully doesn't know who he is calling.

• Inform your parents and get them to reply.

• Block the bully's server/email address.

• Tape-record or print out a copy and give it to the school, your parents, or the police - it may be a criminal offence.

• Reply: 'Your message has been forwarded to the crime squad'.

PUSHING, SHOVING, BUMPING, HAIR-PULLING

• Say, ' Don't come close to me because my socks are smelly' or' I

• Tickle him: no-one gets into trouble for tickling at school, and bullies won't like it. If the bully pulls your hair, simultaneously tickle him under the arm.

• Be clumsy: allow your books to fall over the bully and make a fuss over apologising.

• Make a squeaky noise: squeeze a rubber duck when the bully bumps you. The noise creates fun, attention and may change the bully's

BOOKS OR POSSESSIONS REMOVED FROM DESK OR LOCKER, OR PUSHED OVER, BROKEN OR HIDDEN

• Don't bring your mobile phone and other valuables to school, or leave them at the school's office.

• Report the damage: bullies who do bad things risk trouble.

• Put up signs: advertise bully behaviours near the staffroom, in the classroom, library, computer room, corridor, playground, bus shelter and train station.

farted.'

game.

BOOKS OR POSSESSIONS REMOVED FROM DESK OR LOCKER, OR PUSHED OVER, BROKEN OR HIDDEN

• Petition: ask children who don't like the bully's behaviour to sign a petition. They can use an imaginary name if they are scared, e.g. 'Spoodle wants Bulldog to stop.'.

• Charge them: give them a bill for the cost of the goods that have been damaged or stolen, and send a copy to their parents. Include a warning that if it is not paid within seven days, you will go to the principal or the police.

FLICKING WATER, PAPER BALLS, RUBBER BANDS, ETC.

• Water throwers: put up your brightest or largest umbrella and smile as you walk past, or wear a hat in class. With your parents' permission, empty a glass of water in the bully's locker or on their desk and say, 'I was told to return what doesn't belong to me.'

• Place all the rubber bands or bits of paper in a glass jar on your desk. Label it, 'Bully darts'.

• Paper flickers: stuff a huge pile of newspaper in their locker or place a few rolls of toilet paper on their desk so they don't need to get their ammunition from the toilets.

EXCLUSION, ISOLATION FROM THE SOCIAL GROUP (SEE ALSO CHAPTER 13)

• Make sure you are friendly, blend in and have fun.

• Suck up to the leader, e.g. ask about his weekends, hobbies.

• If you are suddenly isolated by the group, contact each child individually at home and say, 'I am feeling very hurt. What have I done to make you exclude me?' They may snigger but deep down they know how you feel because everybody has been excluded at times. If they don't care, you know they're not real friends.

• Ask your teachers for help. They can organise a role-play about the impact of exclusion on students.

• Find other friends, even if they are less popular.

• Move things around in his desk or locker. When he complains, say, 'It can't be me because according to you I don't exist.'

• Behave like a statue right next to him. Then eat some popular food without offering him any.

• Leave a school controlled by 'bitches' or 'bulldogs'.

WHISPERING, GIGGLING, LAUGHING, WRITING NOTES ABOUT YOU

• Say, 'If you do mean things behind my back, then you don't care about me.'

• Say, 'I don't like you whispering behind my back. If you have the guts, tell me to my face; if not, then stop.'

• Take a bow - you have obviously entertained them.

• Take any notes, emails, tapes of phone conversations, etc. to the teacher.

POINTING, STARING, MIMICKING YOUR VOICE OR MANNER

• Say, 'I can't see the corners of your mouth when you giggle as I walk past. Can you do it in front of me next time?'

• Ask, 'What else could you do to have fun without bullying me?'

• Mirror his behaviour and copy exactly what he does. Even better, ask your friends to copy you and do it all together.

• When the bully displays nasty nonverbal gestures with his eyes, eyebrows, lips, shoulders, fingers, etc., identify this part of his body, look concerned, make eye contact and ask, 'What's wrong with your eyebrows?'

• Inform the bully, 'I belong to the actors' union. I can't entertain you for free. You owe me $10.' Send a bill to his parents for 'Bully Entertainment'.

• If you don't wear a school uniform, wear a badge or a T-shirt painted with a message like, 'Bullies are kid destroyers'.

NOT SHARING SEATS, TURNING HIS BACK, TAKING AWAY YOUR CHAIR AS

YOU SIT DOWN

• If he won't share a seat, try to sit on his lap.

• The bully says, 'This seat is saved.' Reply options: 'I don't feel like moving today', 'Where's your ticket?', 'Was it lost before?', 'I'll look after it carefully', 'I know, but my father said I could sit here.'

• Say in a clear, loud voice in front of an audience or a teacher, 'I'm very angry at your mean behaviour' to embarrass the bully or force the teacher to act.

Write down the list of bully blockers you can use:

Teases:

Physical:

Social exclusion:

Cyber:

Any other:

Key points - your power tools

■ Consider all options.

■ Use effective communication skills.

■ Have regular target practice.

■ Be natural/genuine/cool.

What to do

Use your power tools.

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