Our Malika Dudley  interviewed a young boy who has experienced bullying here on Maui. His story is not unique, as more than 1 in 5 children experience being bullied each year, but at just six years old Lawaia Uwekoolani is wise beyond his years. The first grader is hoping to spread awareness and encourage empathy.
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. This month, Maui Now is committed to spreading awareness by providing information and resources to those who need them.
According to STOMP Out Bullying, the leading national nonprofit dedicated to changing the culture for all students, bullying can take on many different forms.
Physical Bullying is the most obvious form of intimidation and can consist of kicking, hitting, biting, pinching, hair pulling, and making threats. A bully may threaten to punch you if you don’t give up your money, your lunch, etc.
Verbal Bullying often accompanies physical behavior. This can include name calling, spreading rumors, and persistent teasing.
Emotional Intimidation is closely related to these two types of bullying. A bully may deliberately exclude you from a group activity such as a party or school outing.
Racist Bullying can take many forms: making racial slurs, spray painting graffiti, mocking the victim’s cultural customs, and making offensive gestures.
Sexual Bullying is unwanted physical contact or abusive comments.
Cyberbullying is one or a group of kids or teens using electronic means via computers and mobile phones (emails, Web sites, chat rooms, instant messaging and texting) to torment, threaten, harass, humiliate, embarrass or target another kid or teen.
Whether you know the victim or not, there are things that you as a bystander can safely do to support the victim:
- Don’t laugh
- Don’t encourage the bully in any way
- Don’t participate
- Stay at a safe distance and help the target get away
- Don’t become an “audience” for the bully
- Reach out in friendship
- Help the victim in any way you can
- Support the victim in private
- If you notice someone being isolated from others, invite them to join you
- Include the victim in some of your activities
- Tell an adult
There is strength in numbers. Every school and every community has more caring kids than bullies.
Becoming an Upstander looks like this:
- Taking action by telling the bully to stop
- Taking action by getting others to stand up to the bully with them
- Taking action by helping the victim.
- Taking action by shifting the focus and redirecting the bully away from the victim
- Taking action by telling an adult who can help
Being an Upstander:
- Takes courage – Telling a friend who is bullying to stop is hard. They may be mad at you. But at least you won’t feel guilt for being silent and allowing the bullying to continue. And you will be doing your friend a huge favor in the end by helping them stop really hurtful behavior.
- Takes action – Doing something that does not support the bullying can be a really small intervention with big results! Two words – “That’s bullying” – can open others eyes to recognize the problem.
- Takes assertiveness – Telling a friend how their behavior makes you feel and how it affects others requires being able to use your voice!
- Takes compassion – Upstanders have the gift of compassion. They recognize when someone is hurt and take steps to help.
- Takes leadership – Upstanders are leaders in their social group, helping others to recognize ways to get along and be supportive to others.
A study in 2001 found that more than half of bullying situations (57 percent) stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied. (Hawkins, Pepler, and Craig, 2001)
For more resources for teachers, students, parents and community members, click on one of the links below: