Recognize the Players

Student who are subjected to violence or bullying.

Students who are subjected to violence or bullying do not necessarily sustain obvious physical injuries. To be in a position to act, you must be alert to the telltale signs:

  • Have you noticed that a student’s behaviour has changed in social situations?
  • Is the student often alone, or withdrawn?
  • Does the student find it hard to say no, to be self-assertive or to carve out a place for himself/herself in a group?
  • Does the student often play the fool to make others laugh?
  • Does the student show signs of anxiety or depression (he or she seems sad, miserable or easily irritated)?
  • Has the student suddenly lost interest in things or activities he or she used to find enjoyable?
  • Does the student suffer from low self-esteem?
  • Is the student afraid of going into certain areas of the school?
  • Have the student’s marks dropped for no apparent reason?
  • Does the student often complain of feeling unwell?
  • Does the student think about suicide, running away or dropping out? 

Student who is likely to bully or physically attack others.

Some signs may indicate that a student is likely to bully or physically attack others. For example, he or she may:

  • tend to try to dominate others  (e.g. friends, team members, romantic partners)
  • lack social skills (e.g. is not able to feel accepted in a group, does not know how to make friends or keep them, finds it hard to manage conflicts without resorting to violence, shows little empathy)
  • think that violence and bullying are good ways to resolve conflicts
  • react impulsively in certain situations
  • often attribute hostile intentions to others, when this is not the case

Some young people may also:

  • lack empathy and be insensitive to the distress of others
  • project a false image of confidence or self-assurance
  • find it hard to be assertive and to make themselves feel appreciated
  • feel little remorse for wrongdoing and find it hard to show compassion 

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