The goal is to create a zero-tolerance environment at school. To do that, schools must teach children that reporting a bullying incident is different from tattling—that it’s crucial for them to speak up when they are bullied, or when they witness someone else being bullied.
“Parents need to understand that the solution to bullying is with the parents,” Leventhal says. “When parents talk to their kids about this, they need to talk about how they as adults can protect the kids.” Leventhal says parents must create an environment where their children feel comfortable telling them about the bullying. If children don’t trust their parents and think their parents will make things worse—perhaps by calling the bully’s parents or talking to the bully themselves—children will be much less likely to tell their parents.
Finding someone who can help is essential for kids who are bullied, because it brings them to the conclusion that they are not responsible for the bullying, says Bill Belsey, founder of bullying.org. This understanding helps children develop the self-confidence necessary to stand up to a bully.