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Frequently Asked Questions

Question: What is a bystander?

  • In the world of bullying, bystanders are the students and adults who see bullying occurring, but often let it happen without taking steps to help.
  • Even if kids are not bullied or bullying others they can be affected by bullying.  Many times, when they see bullying, they may not know what to do to stop it. They may not feel safe stepping in, but there are many other steps they can take.

Question: How do I know if my child witnesses bullying?

The easiest way to know if your child witnesses bullying at school is to ask. Start early, opening up the lines of communication and continue to ask your child about bullying throughout their education. 

Question: What are some ways I can start the talk with my child?

Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. They can:

  • Help kids understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bully is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.
  • Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.
  • Kids learn from adults' actions. By treating others with kindness and respect, adults show the kids in their lives that there is no place for bullying. Even if it seems like they are not paying attention, kids are watching how adults manage stress and conflict, as well as how they treat their friends, colleagues, and families.

Question: Why should my child get involved?

Bullying is hurtful for all parties involved, including the school and community.  Bullying can affect everyone:  Those who are bullied, those who bully, and those who witness bullying. Bullying is linked to many negative outcomes including impacts on mental health, substance use, and suicide.

There are many ways your child can help address bullying when they see it happening without putting themselves in harm's way.  Everybody has a responsibility to try and prevent bullying and make our schools safer for all children.

Question: What are ways I can help in my community?

Bullying can be prevented, especially when the power of a community is brought together. Community-wide strategies can help identify and support children who are bullied, redirect the behavior of children who bully, and change the attitudes of adults and youth who tolerate bullying behaviors in peer groups, schools, and communities.  Encourage your children to contribute to an anti-bullying culture by joining clubs or promoting accepting behavior in everyday life.

Question: Is my child likely to witness bullying?

Yes. In fact, 3 out of 4 students bullying, so there's a very good chance your child sees it regularly. Even though most bystanders don't like to watch bullying, less than 20% actually try to stop it. They want to help, but don't know.

Bullying can happen anywhere. Cities, suburbs, or rural towns.  Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in the school building, a significant percentage also happens in places like on the playground or the bus. It can also happen traveling to or from school, in the youth's neighborhood, or on the internet.