My experience might not be something new to many kids out there, but I believe sharing my experience could help other kids face their tormentors and probably find a solution to this well-known problem at school.
Some years ago, when I was 6 years, I was bullied by a group of children to the extent that I considered stopping going to school. Initially, it started with a boy, who always tried to provoke me. However, I and my siblings’ were brought up not to fight. So I tried all I could not fight back my tormentor. I thought that would make him stop, but that encouraged him instead.
This time around, he would not only do all kinds of irritating things to me, he now would do so with his other friends too, one of them a girl. Because they were many, I was afraid to challenge them. In fact, they warned me that they would deal with me if I would report them to my parents or teacher. It was a nightmare for me, until one day I was so scared to go to school to the extent that my father noticed it and insisted I must tell him what the problem was. Initially, I was afraid to talk. After my father threatened to punish me if I refused to talk, I told him the whole truth. He made it clear to me that it was not my fault and that he would make sure the bullying would stop.
My father reported the case to my teacher and insisted that the boys and girl who were mistreating me must be punished. The teacher punished the aggressors and told me never to be afraid of them again. She also insisted:
• I must report to her whenever any other child tried to bully me.
• To always make it clear to whoever wanted to bully me that I would not accept his or her behaviour.
• Set a boundary and make sure to tell my aggressor he/she must stop the behaviour immediately.
• Act with confidence and assertiveness because, according to my teacher, people who bully others often target those they consider weak.
• Look the persons who want to bully me straight in the eyes, while I talk to them without fear, but with authority.
• In most cases, kids who hurt others do so secretly so that they cannot be seen or caught. “You must expose their activities. You could do this either by yelling and speaking up loudly. By so doing, others will discover their acts.” My teacher told me.
• Don’t accept bad names. If kids call you names you don’t like, warn them to stop doing so; if they continue, report them to the teacher.
• If you fail to get the attention of the teacher and all fails, fighting back is a last resort when it is obvious you are about to be harmed. Do not hit your aggressor first, but if they hit you first, hit back with confidence and report to the teacher whenever you can.
I hope these strategies help you to avoid being bullied at school.
Naomi Mamberi ( Jinja, Uganda)
Image and more about bullying: https://sde.ok.gov/faqs/bullying-frequently-asked-questions