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  • Bullying
  • What if I see someone being bullied?

You might not be the target of bullying, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. If you see someone being bullied, speak up and help them feel safe.

How to stop bullying

Bullying is bad for everyone — whether it happens at school or somewhere else. Sometimes sticking up for someone else is easier than sticking up for yourself. It takes courage to stand up to bullying, but you may find that others will join you if you speak out.

Here are some ways to prevent bullying or support someone who’s being bullied:

  • Talk with the person being bullied.  Ask what you can do to help. Sometimes just hanging out between classes or before and after school can help.

  • Listen without making judgments. The person being bullied could feel sensitive about what’s going on and scared to talk about it. They may feel powerless and unable to get away from the bullying.

  • Let them know you care. Show that you’re a friend. Invite them into your group or to do things together. Being bullied hurts a person’s confidence, but friends can make a huge difference.

  • Tell an adult you trust. If the bullying is happening at school, tell a teacher, principal, administrator, or counselor. But no matter where it’s happening, tell an adult you trust. Try to involve the person being bullied in the discussion. They might be afraid to tell someone, so your encouragement could help.

  • Take a stand as a group. Talk with your friends about how you can all stand up to bullying. There’s strength in numbers. Start or join an anti-bullying group or a gay-straight alliance at your school.

  • Don’t repeat rumors. Bullies sometimes try to start rumors — you can help stop a rumor by not spreading it.

  • Confront bullying. It takes courage, but talking to someone who’s bullying lets them know that their actions aren’t cool. If you’re worried about safety, make sure you tell someone your plan or bring someone with you. You also don’t have to talk face-to-face — you can send them a message to let them know that what they’re doing is wrong and hurtful. Sometimes, all people need to hear is “Hey, that’s not cool,” to make them think twice about their words and actions.

  • Educate! Some types of bullying — like bullying someone for their race, religion, or being gay or trans — is based on fear and ignorance. If you teach someone what you know about these things, you might be able to change the way they treat people.

If you’re worried about a friend’s health or safety and want to talk to someone, these places can help you figure out how to deal with bullies:

  • Stop Bullying.gov has all sorts of info for teens, adults, and teachers to help prevent bullying.
  • The Trevor Project provides support and suicide prevention to LGBTQ youth. Help is available by phone, chat, and text 24 hours a day.

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