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Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 August, 2003, 05:45 GMT 06:45 UK
How to deal with bullies
School boy - unidentifiable
What's the best way to deal with bullies?

It's the latest way to tackle bullies in schools - asking children to look out for problems amongst their friends before those problems get out of hand.

The suicide of eleven year old Thomas Thomson last month after he'd been bullied was a frightening reminder of just how serious bullying can be.

On Breakfast we spoke to Robert Higgs who's written about bullying, and Annie Blunt from the Mental Health Foundation which helps set up schemes that encourage pupils to help sort out bullying problems.

To see that interview click on the link on the top of the page

So what is the best way to tackle the bullies? Are peer-schemes where children help one another the best approach? Or should the onus be more on the teachers?

Alicia Reeve
Alicia Reeve is a school councillor

In our film we featured 11-year old Alicia Reeve from Lancaster.

She has been a school councillor at her school for two years and explained that any children with problems could post a note into a "worry box".

These were then picked up by the (child) school councillors who dealt with the problem by talking it through with both victim and bully.

The scheme works well in that school.

And that approach, according to Annie Blunt often works best.

Whole-school approaches tend to work best, it's difficult to deal with this problem in isolation
Annie Blunt, Mental Health Foundation

She explained that children sometimes prefer to speak to someone their own age about their problems.

And with children involved in enforcing a no-bullying policy it meant that victims were more likely to be safe from the problem - because they're around on the way home, in the playground and in park. Adults are around children much less than their peers.

Robert Higgs said that he wished that he had spoken to someone about being bullied - as it would have helped him to confront the problem.

He has written a book about his experiences, called "What have I ever done to you?"

It's published by Pegasus Elliot MacKenzie; ISBN: 1903490081.

There are links to websites which can help with bullying problems on this page - on the right hand side.

Perhaps you've been bullied yourself and would like to share you story?


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Dealing with Bullies
"It's in their nature to want to pick on people"

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