Tips to Stop the Harrassment

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It is vital to stop harassment immediately!  Bullying hurts the person targeted, the witnesses, and the bully. Act right away! Do not let harassment—verbal or physical—go on for even a minute. Make it clear that Harassment Is Never Okay!

1. Stop the Harassment!

  • Interrupt the comment. Halt the physical harassment.
  • Make sure everyone in the vicinity can hear you. You want everyone—all the youth and adults nearby—to know that all young people are safe in this place.
  • Do NOT pull the bully aside for a confidential discussion—stopping the harassment should be as public as the harassment has been.

2. Identify the Harassment.

  • "You just put someone down regarding (sex, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, health status, etc.)" Or, "You just shoved someone."
  • Put the spotlight on the bully's behavior. Do NOT say anything to imply that the person being harassed belongs to the group just named. Everyone needs to understand that what was said or done is unacceptable.

3. Publicly Broaden the Response.

  • Identify the offense and its consequences: "Name calling is hurtful to everyone who hears it." "Physical attacks on anyone are totally unacceptable and can result in the attacker being put out of the program."
  • Make it clear that the entire organization, agency, program, etc., is solidly opposed to such behavior: "In this program, we do not harass other people. Period." "In this organization, any physical attack, for any reason, on someone else is totally unacceptable. Any repetition will have serious consequences for you."

4. Request a Change in Future Behavior.

  • Personalize the response for the bully: "Chris, please think about what you say. This language isn't what we would have expected of you." "Jaime, by pushing someone, you are being a bully. I thought you enjoyed participating in this program. But, by your action, you've put yourself on the sidelines for the rest of today. Any repetition and you are out forever."
  • Quietly, check in with the person who was harassed: "Are you okay? Do you want to talk with me or someone else? Let's go find a quiet place to chat."
  • Quietly reassure the person who was harassed: "Please let me know if this happens again, and I will take further action. Everyone should feel safe and be safe here. What happened was totally unacceptable, and you are very important to all of us."

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