Arianne Hammond, Youthlink Writer
The problem of bullying
Bullies come in all shapes, sizes and gender. When you are on the receiving end of bullying, it can ruin your school years, especially if there is no one with whom you can talk about your problems. Youthlink strongly recommends that readers report any form of bullying to teachers and parents. They are the only ones who can offer real protection from these aggressors.
Tasheka Gordon, a grade-10 student at Excelsior High School, shares tactics on how to deal with bullies.
1 "Assess the situation and look if you are doing something wrong why they are always out for you." The purpose of this is to see if there something about you that can be changed to prevent them from harassing you.
2 "Report your harassment to a teacher and your parents to prevent it from escalating any further; [especially] to violence." Do not be worried about any negative labels being attached to you. It's better to have authorities deal with the problem than have it be a burden on your psychological well-being, for that will impact every other area in your life.
3 "Walk in a group, make sure these are people who aren't afraid and can help you in your time of need." Bullies usually attack someone whom they think won't fight back. When you are in a group they will be less likely to harass you.
4 "If everything else fails, and it might be a long shot, avoid and ignore your bully. I would suggest confronting them, but that's only if you can handle it. Bullies usually go away when they are confronted." Show your bully that you are not afraid, but only after all of the above options have been tried and failed. The first year of school can be stressful, what with trying to complete homework on time and squeezing in extra-curricular activities. Added to the strain of school and all it entails is the pressure from peers. For this reason Daneia Evans, a third-form student at Dunoon Technical High School, gives new high-school students tips on how to manage peer pressure.
Dealing with peer pressure in your first school year
1 "Stop and talk to your friends about their behaviour and how you think hanging out with them is negatively affecting your schoolwork or your relationship with your parents." Talking to your peers, especially if you are not comfortable with their behaviour, should let them know that breaking school rules and your mother's curfew doesn't sit well with you and that you want still want to be friends. Hopefully, they'll see that you want to be a good friend to them and maybe peer pressure in reverse could happen.
It's best to part company
2 "Distancing yourself from these 'friends' should be considered if they are not willing to change. If they think that you are a 'show off' then that's their business." If your friends think that you are just not that cool to hang with them then go your separate ways. This move would be hard, but it's better to lose them early in your school life than later when you are in major trouble.
Water runs to find its own level
3 "Try and find yourself and with that you'll figure out where you belong and with whom you'll fit in." The saying translates to: go find peers of like mind with whom you are comfortable and who will meet your standard. It just means being open to people and giving them a chance to be your friend.