Wednesday, May 11


Why has bullying come to light in Spain lately?
Which event has raised awareness of the problem?

The answer is simple and worrying: after the teenage Jokin, 14, committed suicide in Hondarrubia (Guipúzcoa) on the 21st September, 2004.
He killed himself due to distress over bullying, and no doubt the bullies never thought this would be the consequences of their behavior, but he suffered for months unhappiness, being hit, kicked, punched, called names, said nasty things, taunted and threatened by some school partners. And all this took place on the presence of other bystander students doing nothing about it and ignoring what was going on.

My school is one of those where bullying is still not taken seriously, we consider it as an inevitable part of childhood, just as part of growing up and a way for young people to learn to stick up for themselves.
But bullying hurts. It makes people miserable. It can change lives for ever. It can make young people feel lonely, unhappy and frightened. It makes them feel unsafe and think they must be something wrong with them.
They lose confidence and may not want to go to school any more. It may make them sick, some are receiving psychiatric and psycological help, others are suffering from eating disorders because they have been called fat.
Some young people are bullied for no particular reason, but sometimes it's because they are different in some way, perhaps they are more clever, more popular and better looking than they are or on the contrary, it's their weight, the colour of their skin, the way they talk, or because they wear glasses or a hearing aid, have red hair, dyslexia, diabetes or are just quiet and pleasant. Many of them are too frightened to go to school and some have been removed from school by their parents.

The word "bullying" is used to describe many different types of behaviour ranging from teasing or deliberately leaving an individual out of social gathering or ignoring them, to serious assaults and abuse. Sometimes is an individual who is doing the bullying and sometimes a group.
The important thing is not the action but the effect on the victim. No-one should ever underestimate the fear that a bullied child feels.

There are different kinds of bullying and they all hurt:

  • Physical bullying: Hitting, kicking, pushing, choking, punching, biting, shoving, taking things away from you, damaging your belongings, stealing your money, being attacked because of your religion or colour, making things up to get you into trouble.
  • Verbal bullying: Threatening, taunting, teasing, hate speech, calling you names, spreading rumours, making silent or abusive phone calls, sending you offensive phone texts, posting insulting messages on the internet or by IM.
  • Social exclusion: Taking your friends away from you, being ignored and left out, exclusion from activities (this doesn't mean that a child shouldn't have the right to choose to play or not to play with another child; it means that chidren shouldn't be allowed to systematically exclude others: "No one play with Mary" "No one wants to play with him" "Don't be her friend" "Don't talk to him".


Bullying hurts. It makes you feel unsafe, scared and upset, it can make you feel you are not important. It can make you so worried that you can't work well at school. Some students have skipped school and pretended to be ill to get away from it. It can also make you feel that you are no good, that there is something wrong with you. But you need to know that you are NOT alone in being bullied. You need to know that being bullied is NOT YOUR FAULT.

People who bully might try to hurt and control you by telling you things like "you're stupid and ugly" or that your hair or skin colour, size, sex, race, religion, and other things are bad. Don't believe bullies. These things are not bad. In fact, it is these very things that make you special and unique in our world. These mean words and actions tell us more about the people who are saying and doing such things, than about you. Bullying is really about others who want to have power and control over you. People who bully want you to feel badly about yourself. Don't give bullies that power.


Be bullied can be embarrassing, scary and very hurtful, but you should know that you don't have to put up with being bullied. It is NOT a normal part of growing up. Bullying is wrong, and copying with it can be difficult, but remember, you are not the problem, the bully is. You have a right to feel safe and secure. And if you are different in some way, be proud of it!

If someone is bullying you, don't keep it to yourself: you should always tell an adult you can trust. This isn't telling tales. You have a right to be safe and adults can do things to get the bullying stopped. Even if you think you've solved the problem on your own, tell an adult anyway, in case it happens again.

An adult you can trust might be a friend, teacher, school principal, parents... It won't stop unless you do. If you find it difficult to talk about being bullied, it might be easier to write a note to your parents explaining how you feel, or perhaps confide in someone outside the inmediate family, like a grandparent, aunt, uncle or cousin and ask them to help you tell your parents what's going on.

Your form tutor needs to know what is happening, so try to find a time to tell him/her when it won't be noticeable. The best idea is if the teacher can catch the bullies red-handed. That way, you won't get into bother from anyone for telling tales.

Try to stay in safe areas of the school at break and lunchtime where there are plenty of other people. Bullies hardly ever pick on people if they are with others in a group, they don't like witnesses. If you are hurt at school, tell a teacher immediately and ask for it to be written down. Make sure you tell your parents.

On the school bus, try to sit near the driver, or if it's an ordinary bus, by other adults. If you have to walk part of the way, vary your route or take a different path to and from school. Try to leave home and school a bit later or a bit earlier, or see if you can walk with other people who live near you, even if they are older or younger.

Be brave, when you're scared of another person, it's hard to be brave, but sometimes just acting brave is enough to stop a bully. If you act as though you're not afraid, it may be enough for a people who bully to leave you alone.

You should stay calm and don't act upset or angry. Bullies love to get a reaction, but if you don't act upset or react the way they want to, they may get bored and stop. Try to ignore a bully's threats. If you can walk away, it takes a bullies power away because they want you to feel bad about yourself. Don't react. Don't let the people who bully win! Everyday you go in to school is a triumph over the bullies because by being there you're showing them that you have every right to be there and that their behaviour hasn't upset you as they had hoped.

But remember to have friends you also need to be a friend and you can do that by trying to be open and friendly with people and asking how they are. This isn't always easy because sometimes the people you are nice to aren't nice back, but if you just ask someone if they had a nice weekend then it gives them the chance to say something back and then you can try to continue the conversation.

If you see someone else being bullied you should always try to stop it. If you do nothing, you're saying that bullying is okay with you. You should show the bully that you think what they are doing is stupid and mean. Help the person being bullied to tell an adult they can trust. But don't get into trouble with the bullies, do it discreetly by telling a teacher when you get the oportunity and won't be overheard. People who are being bullied need friends so if you can help someone who is so unhappy, please do so.

You should always believe the kids being bullied, listening to what they have to say and don't make the bully feel important by paying attention to them, if you ignore bullies, you take away their power. They like to look tough in front of others, they want an audience. You give bullies power when you watch and most of the time the bullying will end if someone like you steps in to stop it. It's a fact that peers are present 85% of the time when bullying occurs and that it will stop within 10 seconds most of the time when someone else steps in to be a friend to the victim.


There are a lot of reasons why some people bully.

Bullying is a behaviour, it is something people learn. Bullies may also be bullied themselves, or they were bullied at one time or another in their lifetime. People bully to get attention and because it makes them feel superior to others. They think that it makes them popular but it doesn't make someone popular or cool, it just make them mean. People who bully are often scared about something about themselves, so they try to scare others to hide their feelings or pick on others so they won't get picked on first. They are unhappy and they take out their unhappiness on others. People who bully feel little or no responsability for their actions, and often feel the need to control others and may always feel the need to win. People who bully may be jealous of the people they are bullying and are unable to understand and appreciate the feelings of others. They choose the one person they know they can win against (basically they are chickens). They are excellent observers of human behavior.

Even though people who bully cause a great deal of pain for others, they need help too. If they do not learn how to change their behaviors, they usually end up in trouble with the law. By the age 24, 60% of people who were childhood bullies have at least one criminal conviction. People who continue to bully have many other problems as adults who show more alcoholism, antisocial personality disorders and need for mental health services.

Some people who bully may not even understand how wrong their behavior is and how it makes the person being bullied feel.


Boys and girls tend to bully in different ways. Teenage girls are more likely to use exclusion from frienships, rumour spreading and name calling while boys are more likely to punch and kick their victims than girls and to use intimidation. Girls appear to be main perpetrors of mobile phone abuse and also on the receiving end of most text message abuse and silent calls. But bullies in general are cunning and are expert at getting away with it.

If you are bullying, or have bullied someone, it is a good idea to get some help. Bullying is wrong behaviour which makes the person being bullied feel afraid or unconfortable.

You need to realize that hurting other people doesn't make you important, it just makes you mean. Think about ways you can be a leader without hurting others, like getting involved in sports, school groups and community activities. If you need help or advice, talk to someone you trust.

Remember that bullying isn't just hitting someone or beating them up. Spreading gossip, calling someone mean names or leaving someone out of games or refusing to invite them to your party are other forms of bullying too.

People who continue to bully when they are young, often end up being in trouble with the law and having many other serios problems.

Being a bully is a dead-end road to take in your life. There is nothing good about being a bully.


Adults can and do bully children, mums and dads, other family members, and teachers, for example. They may do it by making you feel bad in front of other people, by shouting and scaring you, by teasing or making fun of you.

It can be very difficult to do something about it, especially if the adult is the one you would normally go to about being bullied. Don't give up, find a sympathetic adult, perhaps a teacher, and talk to them about the problem.


Tachers and parents have a special responsability for looking after young people and that includes helping if they are being bullied at school. But adults cannot do this without help from young people. When someone is bullied at school, other young people who are not directly involved usually know what is going on. Even though they are not involved they could help people who are being bullied. They could encourage them to talk to an adult or could offer to talk to an adult on their behalf. They might be able to let bullies know that they do not like what they are doing and that they are determined to see it stop.

All members of a school community, young and old, have a responsability to help people who are being bullied and to speak out against bullying behavior.

Many schools are now taking bullying seriously. We can help by taking part in our school's anti-bullying activities.

Here are some ideas which teachers and students can deal with bullying:

  • Placing bully boxes in school where pupils can put notes if they are too worried to speak openly about bullying.
  • Older students can sometimes volunteer to help and support younger ones and new pupils coming into their school by getting to know them and by helping them with problems.
  • Counselling people who are being bullied, or who are bullying others, (but only if the counsellor has had training.)
  • Organizing campaigns, such as a "no-bullying day"
  • Taking part in drama activities to help people understand what it feels like to be bullied and to think about what they can do to stop it.
  • Creation of the mediator figure who helps to find a solution when two people disagree about something, this third person can be helpful in many situations but not in all cases of bullying since a bully may refuse to take part because they are not interested in ending the bullying and the victim may feel that a negotiated solution is not fair when it is the other person who is entirely in the wrong.

A final conclusion could be:

Treat others the way you would like to be treated. Stand up for someone when he or she needs it, and when you need it, someone will stand for you. Everyone has the right to be respected and the responsability to respect others!



Bullying Online


El Pais, 11th November,2004. 28th April,2005

El Mundo, 6th October,2004

Escuela, number 3661

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