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Overcoming Bullying through Prevention Awareness

Many schools confront the discipline problem of bullying.  Bullying is an undesirable and anti-social behavior that undermines the quality of life. The effects of bullying are long lasting, and they scar the victims forever by knocking their self-esteem and confidence.  Although bullying is mostly deliberate, it is crucial to educate the bullies since most do not know how much they are hurting their victims.  Bullies are vulnerable and in need of help to change as in the case of Antonio.  The educators have the role of identifying, confronting and stopping bullying by engaging the students in social activities that educate them on the awareness and prevention of bullying. 

 
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Young adults depend on their peers for friendship, advice, and self-validation through socialization. Robert Kenny’s article “The Good, the Bad and the Social: Living as an Answerable Agent” asserts that “expectation and consequence” form the basis on which social interactions and relations lie. The idea of the “looking-glass self” asserts that interpersonal interactions can motivate an individual to change based on the perceptions of the interacting agents. Thus, the “looking glass self” has influenced the way Antonio sees himself in relation to how the society views him. Antonio’s change of heart comes from the imagination or self-realization of himself as others see him, his judgment of how others perceive him and some guilt because he has been hurting others.  The “looking glass self” is what he talks about when he says “The mirror told me it wasn’t cool. The mirror told me to change.” Antonio realizes his answerability to himself through the attitudes of his victims who avoid him to show their displeasure with his actions. Thus, Antonio feels that he needs to change how others perceive him by changing his bullying ways and conforming to the societal norms.

Game Plan for Antonio’s Change

Firstly, to start off Antonio’s journey, I would engage the class in a lesson dubbed “Bullying and its Consequences.” The idea is to help the students understand the different forms of bullying. For example, verbal bullying includes teasing, name-calling, insulting and mimicking others. Physical bullying involves hitting, shoving, kicking and pinching. Emotional bullying involves manipulating others with the intention to make them feel inferior, powerless and to lower their self-esteem such as isolating, gossiping and backstabbing. I would make the students realize that bullying is wrong and has no justification.

Secondly, I would engage the students in trying to figure out what causes individuals to become bullies. Bullying can arise because one feels insecure, wants to feel powerful or popular. Bullies are mostly unhappy with their lives, and they take it out on innocent victims. I would then focus on helping the students discover the different bullying patterns. For example, some of the bullies take their bad habits from the home environment meaning that if they experience bullying at home, they tend to take it out on victims at school.  Others have violent forces and they always take out their helplessness s on others. It is imperative to devise ways of helping the students take control of their negative behavior by making them think of what makes them derive pleasure from hurting others. It is vital to remind the students about the consequences of bullying since they cause harm to others they can face expulsion from school, gain a bad reputation and lose friends. I would encourage the students to join anti-bullying groups and encourage those that are unable to control their behaviors to seek professional help from the school counselor. 

Next, in line with the lesson, I would engage the students in a visual activity dubbed “A wrinkled Heart.” The activity aims at illustrating the harmful effects of cruel words on the individuals. It is crucial to remind the children about the need for being kind to others. The activity begins by cutting out a large paper heart for each student.  Each student should then say the hurtful or cruel words that others do or say that hurt their feelings. For each example that the children give they should fold their paper heart. Next, I would ask the students to say the positive and nice things that others ever said to them and for each response they should unfold the heart. 

I would ask the students to examine their paper hearts which are now wrinkled. I would tell them that that is how hurtful words and actions wrinkle the hearts of the victims. The wrinkles are permanent and can never come out completely. I would then ask them to demonstrate ways in which they can display kind behaviors to others. The idea behind the activity is to build a conscience. Conscious development is crucial for young adults because they need to know that their actions can either hurt or motivate others.  Therefore, they can begin to question the impact of their actions towards others.

How the Class Can Support Antonio’s Change

It is evident that people tend to assume that “once a bully always a bully” and it would take time for the students to accept Antonio's change.  First, I would make Antonio offer a sincere apology to his classmates. Then I would encourage them to show him that they care about him because it is the first step towards overcoming his negative behavior. Showing care to Antonio would give him a sense of belonging, acceptance and reconciliation and it would help him reconnect with his emotions and empathy. I would make them understand that the reformation process is possible if they support him fully. 

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A strategy for Antonio to Stay on Track

I would encourage Antonio to change his routine as the first step to ensuring that he remains on the right track. He should learn to treat others with the fairness and respect they deserve. He can practice new ways of relating with others, and he can accomplish this by joining groups that speak out against bullying and help bullies get back on track. Being in positive groups can improve Antonio’s social skills, and he can learn some cooperative ways of solving conflicts and understanding and appreciating the differences of others. Above all, I would remind him that he is not alone in this journey of change, and I am always available to help him in every way.

Suggestion to Antonio’s Parents

Antonio’s transformation requires the partnership of all those that are closest to him. As such, I will request Antonio’s parents to take part in his healing process by monitoring and supporting him. They can encourage him by reassuring him that he can be different and together we can monitor his progress. 

Overall, Bullies can transform their behaviors through self-reflection and the support of those around them. Antonio demonstrates that bullies also have a hard time as they strive to cope with societal stigma. The effects of bullying are many, and they can last a lifetime. Thus, it is crucial to speak out against bullying by creating awareness and prevention to ensure that individuals do not engage in the vice and those already in it can get back on the right track. 

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