Taking On the Bully #3: How We Unintentionally Support The Bully

As good as our intentions may be, the way we address Bullying Post.3bullying may actually encourage more bullying.

When two children at recess get into an altercation, a bully and the student they repeatedly target, we see teachers or administrators place the two of them in a room for mediation. This often communicates that little to no discipline will occur and the bully can repeat his or her actions. Sometimes this sends a signal to other students that they may be able to get away with the same level of bullying. For the child targeted by the bully, it may signal that they have little to no support from teachers and school administrators. For other students being bullied, it can send the message that it doesn’t make a difference to ask for help.

This document from stopbullying.gov helps highlight how we should all be aware of the results of our good intentions.


Taking On The Bully #2

“When children are singled out because of a shared characteristic — such as race, sexual orientation, or religion — or a perceived shared characteristic, the issue not only affects that individual but the entire community. Policymakers believe that AAPI students who are bullied face unique challenges, including religious, cultural, and language barriers. In addition, there has been a spike of racial hostility following the September 11 attacks against children perceived to be Muslim. The classroom should be the safest place for youth, but for some AAPI students, it can be a very dangerous environment.

— Kiran Ahuja, Executive Director White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders

Here is a video of Former NFL Wide Receiver and former member of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders Hines Ward telling his story– of overcoming bullying and his experience growing up as a multiracial boy. When students make the connection that anyone can be bullied and that anyone can overcome it, they are better able to speak up or speak out about their own experiences or those of their friends.

For more on the #ActToChange movement from the White House Initiative on AAPIs (Asian American Pacific Islanders) go to https://www.whitehouse.gov/aapi

Taking on the Bully: A Weekly Series

Wing Chong Luke lived through bullying as a young Chinese American boy growing up in Seattle. In his own unique way, he dealt a peaceful blow to the bullies tormenting him daily. How? He made them respect him.

Many Asian and Pacific Islander children endure bullying and other forms of violence every day. Not all of them are able to find friends and teachers to stand up for them, and others feel powerless to take on a bully by themselves.

We are dedicating a weekly post on this site for the next year that addresses issues of bullying and violence, actions that students can take to create safe schools, and activities teachers can use to engage students. The museum recognizes that racial discrimination begins when individuals cannot connect as people. From bullying–to other forms of violence and hatred– to societal stereotypes and dehumanization– to policies and practices that overtly treat ethnic groups as second class.

In our Reading and Exploring section we will be continually posting suggested books and activities to challenge your students to explore their own biases, to think through what it means to really be accepting of themselves and others, and to see how children and teen characters persevere in staying true to themselves. Additionally, you will find activities in our Honoring Our Journey (upper grades) and Connecting with Our Histories (elementary) modules.

The Sikh Coalition actively addresses racial and religious bullying and violence directed toward Sikh Americans– on school, school district and national levels. Since the events of 9/11 Sikh children and adults have been targeted repeatedly with racial slurs, violence, and other forms of bigotry. The reports they produce and the stories they capture are quite moving. You may consider viewing some of these videos with your students. The image below links to an eye-opening info graphic. You might consider sharing this with older students. Teachers– This reading is for you and was also produced by the Sikh Coalition: go-home-terrorist.

Sikh Bullying infographic