It can be as simple as calling someone a name or what seems to be an innocent prank. Bullying takes many forms, and when you are not on the receiving end can often seem to be harmless. But you never know what could push a person to reach their breaking point. As a cheerleader, you are an automatic leader within your school and community. A large responsibility comes with such a role. Your actions and words often set a tone throughout the school or organization, so it is important to stand strong against bullying. It is not enough to simply concede to not be a bully yourself. You must make a commitment to do what you can to stop others from engaging in such behavior.
In the past, bullying was a semi limited act typically confined to the walls of schools, but in today’s viral world dominated by social media, bullying can be hard to escape. The act of bullying via the web has become so popular that it has gained its own name, cyber-bullying. The fact that internet bullying is popular enough to warrant its own name is shameful in itself.
Stopbullying.gov, an official government-sponsored web site, reported the following about bullying. “Bullying can happen anywhere: face-to-face, by text messages, or on the web. It is not limited by age, gender, or education level. It is not a phase and it is not a joke. Bullying can cause lasting harm”.
It is important to be proactive about bullying. Here are some tips on handling bullies:
– Don’t be afraid to get help. Whether you are the person being bullied or just a witness, find someone who is capable of handling the situation. Remaining silent is never the answer.
– Do not blame yourself if you are the target of bullying. Bullies often target others because of their own insecurities. Be proud of who you are… our differences are honestly what makes us special.
– If you are being bullied take the following steps
o 1. Tell the bully to stop
o 2. Walk away and do not engage
o 3. Tell an adult that you trust
o 4. Stick together; there is strength in numbers.
– Bullies tend to target people who they believe will not do anything about the bullying. Immediately take steps to prove this notion wrong. Do not keep secrets. There is no shame in being bullied. You are not at fault.
– Be aware of the resources available to you. There are many organizations that deal specifically with bullying. Additionally, traditional resources like the school counselor are always a safe option.
Take a stand against this growing issue in our society. Report bullying immediately. Encourage your friends, teammates and classmates to embrace each other’s differences. You do not have to be friends with every single student, but respecting each individual should be mandatory. Remember, always act toward others the way you would want them to act toward you.