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For students: What if you told an adult and it wasn’t helpful?

60-second answer

Have you told someone about being bullied and nothing has changed? Don’t give up! Did you know that you have the legal right to be safe at school? If the bullying continues even after you told an adult, know that there are laws designed to protect you (find your state law or policy at It is very important for students to reach out to another trusted adult and ask for help again. This adult can be a parent, a teacher, a coach, or anyone from the community. Let them know that you need their help and that you wouldn’t be coming to them if you could fix the situation on your own.


If you told an adult about a bullying situation and it wasn’t helpful, don’t give up! Be a self-advocate. Speak up for yourself and let another adult know what you need in order to feel safe. Every student has the right to feel safe at school.

All states have laws or policies to address bullying prevention in schools. Some adults may not be aware of these laws or realize that the school has a bullying prevention policy in place. Share your knowledge that there is a law, and keep talking until someone understands and gives you support. There are people who care and will help you.

When speaking to a trusted adult, whether it be a school administrator, a teacher, counselor, or another adult in the community, share important information with them, such as:

  • a description of the bullying
  • a reminder that there are laws outlining the school’s responsibility in handling bullying situations
  • a discussion of the school’s bullying prevention policy

You may have additional protections when the bullying is about race, color, national origin, age, sex, religion, or disability. This is called harassment and there is a federal law.

On your own, or with the help of an adult, create an action plan. Write down what is happening to you with details about where it happens and who is involved. Think about what you can do to change your situation or what would help you gain control over the situation. PACER’s Student Action Plan can be a great place to start this process.

Bullying hurts, it’s emotional, but know that you do not have to deal with it alone. The first person may not have been able to help, but keep going. There are adults who will listen, be there for you, and support you.

Posted April, 2017


This poster provides younger students with helpful information about how to tell an adult.

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Blog Post

Read the article written by PACER staff, Speaking up about bullying isn’t tattling and our kids need to know the difference.

Reasons Students Might Not Report Bullying - Student Response | PACERTalks About Bullying: Season 3, Ep. 13

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