September 23, 2017 WHAT SHOULD I DO ABOUT BULLIES?? Hi Brandon, I NEED YOUR HELP!! There are these kids at my school that bully other people like, ALL THE TIME. They make fun of slightly overweight kids. They recently picked on me because of my straight A’s and freckles. They also made fun of my best friend’s outfit and long hair. I’ve told people about the bullying, but no one will listen. What should I do? Bothered By Bullies Hey Bothered By Bullies, Mean people are THE WORST! 🙁 Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. Ugh, the bullies at your school sound HORRIBLE. And pretty familiar, too. (I just happen to know a really bad one who’s name begins with the letter, “M.”) They go after kids who are different in some way, to make themselves feel better and more powerful. Making fun of other people’s appearances shows that THEY’RE super shallow and insecure. I know it seems like they have all the power, but I SWEAR. They’re SO weak. And they’re scared. That’s why they bully other people. But, they get the power they want when you react to their taunts. I’m sure this is advice you’ve heard before, but it really helps if you DON’T give them the power they’re looking for. Even if it hurts, TRY to act like you don’t care what they say. Try to roll your eyes at them or just walk away. I’m sorry to hear that telling people hasn’t helped. I assume that means you’ve told adults what’s going on. I’m guessing teachers and/or parents think this is just normal kid stuff and that kids always pick on each other, so what can you do? BUT STILL. The “whole sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me” thing is total baloney. Words can definitely hurt. A LOT. So, one thing I think you should do is keep telling adults until you find someone who’ll listen. It might help if you change how you approach it, too. Instead of just complaining about the bullies and hoping an adult will fix the problem or get them in trouble, think about it another way. Find an adult who wants to help you figure out how to address bullying at your school. Maybe you could make it a group effort. There might be a few other kids that’d join you in talking to a couple teachers who might listen. Maybe you can form some sort of bullying task force and come up with proposals for assemblies and other ideas for how to address the issue of bullying. Maybe it will make a difference with the bullies at your school. Maybe it won’t. But, it WILL show them that you’re not just going to take it and adults are paying attention, and it’ll show you both that there are MORE positive people out there than negative ones. (There really are.) And, you can BE one of those positive people. Try to put all sorts of positivity out there. Notice the kids who get picked on and go out of your way to compliment them (genuinely). If you see them getting cornered by bullies, rescue them. (You don’t have to confront the bullies if you don’t want to. Just tell whoever’s getting picked on that you need their help with something and pull them away.) Slip encouraging notes into the vents of people’s lockers – anonymous or not, depending on what you’re comfortable with. Spreading these random acts of kindness will not only help other people. It will help YOU, too! It feels GOOD to do all that stuff. And maybe you can spread the kindness by encouraging your closest friends to do the same. And as people receive your encouragement, compliments and support, hopefully they’ll catch on and start doing it, too. And soon, the bullies will be TOTALLY outnumbered! At least I hope so. I know it’s not always that simple. But, hopefully these ideas will help. And maybe our readers can give us more ideas in the comments—have you or your school done anything about bullying? What worked? What didn’t?