Teachers and school staff have a unique insight into a child’s personality by observing them at school. When a student’s typical disposition suddenly changes, there is always an underlying cause and bullying can often the culprit. These vicissitudes can be indicators that something is amiss, and many victims of bullying display specific changes in their personality and behavior. If you know what they are, identifying these shifts can put teachers on alert, prompt dialogues, and, most importantly, initiate action to protect the victim and get the bully redirected.
With a keen eye and observation, these indicators can help identify a child who might be the victim of bullying and enable a prompt and swift intervention to abolish it.
1. Excessive absences.
Students who are bullied will avoid their oppressors at all costs. If a child is missing an unusually high amount of school days, it’s important to know why.
2. Unexplainable injuries.
Always, always ask about scratches, bruises or torn clothing. If the question is deflected, start thinking of different ways to engage. If necessary, move the conversation away from a group to a more intimate 1:1 setting where it could help a child feel more comfortable opening up.
3. Avoids trips to the bathroom.
School bathrooms are typically not monitored, and in many surveys, students have expressed a fear of harassment or intimidation while in the bathrooms.
4. Frequent illnesses.
Everyone has off days, but complaints about feeling ill or numerous visits to the nurse’s office might indicate something bigger is going on, which prompts the child to remove themselves from a situation.
5. Declining grades.
Loss of interest, focus, and participation indicate that a child is distracted, most likely in a negative way.
6. Aversion to team activities or organized sports.
When out of a classroom setting and away from earshot of authority figures, bullies have more of an opportunity to pick on others. After school activities and sports are common venues for bullying behavior.