Addressing the Bullying Camper
June 1, 2007
|Addressing the Bullying Camper
A consistent response to bullying behavior must be part of your camp culture. Staff and campers must know that if bullying is known to occur, it will be addressed. The issues that factor into how staff will proceed include: age, type of bullying, behavioral, discipline and personal history.
The first thing staff need to remember is - Do not bully the bully.
Bullying can create a strong emotional response from all the people involved, including staff members who need to address the bully or bullies. It is very important to be respectful and professional at all times, role-modeling the behavior you expect from all your campers.
Staff members must enforce the rules assertively, not aggressively. They need to role-model the behavior they expect in campers and must address the (alleged) bully in a calm manner, using body language, eye contact, tone of voice and words that are respectful and professional in nature.
In addition, staff members should expect that when confronted, a bully may go into protection mode. You can expect all or some of the following responses:
· Denies doing anything wrong
· Trivializes the event
· Claims victim status by crying and/or accusing the other kid of starting the episode
· Tries to cast the bullied kid as the bully
· Counts on the support of the bystanders
Keep in mind that if a camper is actually innocent, they will have similar responses. Therefore, just because you hear the aforementioned types of responses, it does not mean that the camper is actually guilty.