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What Should You Do? Peer Advocacy - Episode 24

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6:55 minWhat Should You Do? Peer Advocacy - Episode 24

What Should You Do? Peer Advocacy - Episode 24

This week we have another installment of “What Should You Do?” This new monthly feature explores insights and advice from students as they respond to situations about bullying.

  • Author: NBPC
  • Duration: 6:55 minutes
  • Date Posted: 2/21/2018
  • Categories: What Should You Do

Series: PACERTalks About Bullying - Season 1

We are so excited to be launching our brand new series, PACERTalks About Bullying, where each week we will be talking about all things bullying. In our first episode, we’ll share more about PACER Center and what we do.


Hey, there. Welcome back to PACER Talks About Bullying. I'm Bailey. Thanks for joining us.

This month, we're talking all about advocacy and self-advocacy. In this week's video, we're bringing you another installation of our new monthly feature, What Should You Do. We'll all be sharing insight and advice from students responding to different bullying situations. Today, we're at a middle school with a group of peer advocates who are students part of a program that promotes inclusion of students with disabilities. We described a scenario to a group of middle school students about a scene happening in the hallway. After describing the scenario, we had them think about the impact that various responses would have on everyone involved. Now, imagine this. You're walking in a business hallway between classes and see a group of students that have discretely surrounded Alex, a student with Down Syndrome, and they're blocking his way from going to his next class. Alex is trying to go around them, but they keep pushing him back. All the while, they're laughing and acting like they're joking around. They pretend that they're being nice to him, and those that aren't aware of the situation make the assumption that everything is okay, and that the group of students are just being friendly with Alex. But the reality is that they're teasing him, mocking him, and making fun of him for not being able to get away. Now let's go to the students and see what they have to say. So what is the impact for everyone involved, especially Alex, if everyone just ignores what's happening?

Alex, he's going to get hurt really bad, and his self-esteem is going to be super low, and he's just going to have a hard time with his friends and his like social life, and it's not going to be very good for him if nobody stops it.

Alex might feel down. He wouldn't feel like he has any friends and everybody would just be like against him, I guess.

Well, Alex would most likely feel like no one cares about him and that he doesn't matter to anyone. So he'll probably just feel down and his self-esteem will be really low. And the bullies, they'll think that they can keep bullying him and do it to other people. So someone would have to stop it at some point.

I think the impact on Alex would be that he would feel trapped, and that they would just keep doing it to him because no one is stopping them.

Those are great responses from everyone. I think we can all agree that when we ignore bullying, nothing changes. Now let's see what the students have to say about option number two. What is the impact for everyone involved if other students joined in making fun of Alex?

Alex would just get worse because he would just get bad and upset and probably sad.

So if more students started to join, then I think that it would just keep on hurting him, and then it would just keep catching on and more people would just keep doing it and doing it thinking it's okay, but it's really not.

Alex is not going to want--he's just going to feel worse because more people, and chances of him getting hurt are very high because he might try to get through the crowd, but he can't. Yeah, they'll feel like they have more power and they'll overpower him even more, and then it might become an everyday thing.

Well, the bullies, they'll feel like they're more powerful than they actually are because more people are joining in on them and helping them bully other people and making fun of other people. So they'll feel like they're on top of the world.

One hallmark of bullying is that the student experiencing bullying isn't able to defend themselves. This is especially true when a group of individuals decides to bully one person. Now let's see what students have to say about option number three. What is the impact for everyone involved, especially for you and your friends, if two or three of you walk over to the group and ask Alex to walk to class with you?

I think that he would feel very happy, and it would make him feel a lot better, and the other kids would see that happening too, and they would back off and like as us friends, we would just help him through that.

You can kind of be there for him and be his friend.

Alex is going to feel better, and the people around him who are bullying him, they're going to feel bad about what they did, and we're going to be people who are upstanders and try to fix the problem instead of helping cause the problem.

Well, I would feel better, I guess you could say, for me, and then for Alex too, and Alex might feel like he's not left out of everything.

If there aren't adults around when you see a bullying situation happening, it could be a lot easier to speak up in a group. There's power in numbers. Now let's see what students have to say about the last option, option number four. What is the impact for everyone involved if you let a teacher know either then or afterwards what the boys were actually doing?

They might get in trouble, which will make them not do it again, which they will have to say sorry and they might feel embarrassed about doing it. And then me and my friends would feel better that we saved, or not saved, but helped him.

Before, they would not know what was really hurting him. And after the teacher told them, they would finally understand what it meant to be hurt and get hurt by other people.

They'd probably learn to stop and to be more respectful to Alex.

The teacher would most likely put a stop to it and make the boys apologize and have them get together with Alex so they can have a conversation about why they were doing it, what they were doing, and that he doesn't deserve it. And it would most likely stop faster than it would if a couple of kids were trying to stop it.

Letting an adult know about bullying or working with a student to tell an adult is a great step because they're in a better position to stop the bullying. Now that we've heard from students about all four options, let's wrap this video up. Thanks so much to all of these amazing students for sharing their ideas with us. As you can see, it's not always easy knowing what you should do in this situation. It's important to do whatever step feels safe for you, and ideally get the person that's being bullied away from the situation. Hopefully this video has given you some ideas and insights and helps you find a response that works best for you. We'll see you right back here next week. And remember, together, we can all help create a world without bullying. See ya!