Steps College Students Should Take When Bullied

How to effectively deal with college bullying situations


When you are being bullied, it can be hard to know what to do. But, it’s important to remain calm and develop a plan of action. Getting emotional and freaking out will do little to help the situation and will only give the bully the reaction she is looking for. Here are seven steps you should take when you are being bullied.

1. Document everything.

Take time to write down some notes about the bullying you are experiencing.

Include the dates and times of each incident and any witnesses to the event.  If you have experienced cyberbullying, be sure to take screenshots or save copies of everything. It’s also a good idea to e-mail a parent or friend who is not on campus so that they also have documentation of what is happening.

2. Talk with someone.

Bullying is not something you should try to handle on your own. While it can be embarrassing to share the details of what you experienced, it is important to your health and well being to share your experience with someone you trust. If you don’t have a close friend on campus, call a friend from home. You also could talk with your parents, a trusted adult or a counselor. The important thing is to find someone who will be empathetic, compassionate and supportive

3. Start at the bottom of the ladder.

For instance, if you are bullied by someone in your communications class, contact the professor.

If the bully is a member of your athletic team, contact the coach. And if the bully is simply another student on campus, contact the dean of students. You don’t want to go straight to the president of the university when you are dealing with a bullying incident because that leaves you nowhere to go with your complaint.

Additionally, if you go straight to the top, he or she will likely ask to whom you have already talked. Only go to the next level if the bullying situation is not addressed. But don’t be afraid to climb the ladder until someone addresses the situation.

4. Request a plan of action.

When you report the bullying, be sure to find out the plan of action. For instance, will the person you contacted be reviewing your documentation, talking with the bully or questioning the bystanders? If so, stress that the college first take steps to protect you from additional bullying. Also, if the bully is your roommate, be sure you request a new room assignment before the college discusses the bullying with your roommate. Remember, you have very little control over the type of disciplinary action the school takes. But you do have a say in how you will be protected from further harm. Stress your concern about retaliation. Remember to document what was said, the date, the time and any other pertinent information.

5. Take care of you.

After you talk with the school and you are confident things are being handled appropriately, focus on your needs. Bullying is a traumatic situation and sometimes students will become depressed or anxious. Additionally, you may have some physical complaints like headaches, stomachaches and insomnia that need to be addressed.

You also should spend some time thinking about ways you can avoid bullies at college and defend yourself when the situation arises. Remember this is not the time to gossip about the bully or the bullying situation. Not only do you want to take the high road, but also if you spend too much time focusing on the bullying, you are staying stuck in victim mode. Instead, focus on things that will build your confidence. Set some goals. Make some new friends. But do not let the bullying control you. Remember, you are in control of your reaction. Be sure you are striving to move on.

6. Follow up.

If the bullying continues, or if the college does not follow through as they promised, follow up with your contact. Ask about their progress. And, if you feel like your original contact is not taking the matter seriously, then it is time to contact someone higher up. Additionally, be sure to document what was said in the follow-up meeting including the date, the time and any other pertinent information.

7. Learn from the situation.

While you are not to blame for the bullying, it is important that you learn from the situation. For instance, take this negative situation and use it to motivate you and make you stronger. Focus on future goals, fun activities or self-improvement rather than dwelling on the negative aspects of bullying and the pain it caused. Be careful not to embrace the negative messages, but instead learn how to deflect those comments and actions. Focus on perseverance, resiliency, and assertiveness

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