Why Are You Getting Bullied? Because You’re Asking for It.

Image via Flickr/ Working Word

Bullying is such a difficult topic to deal with, so you can probably imagine that different schools try different things in order to combat it. Just recently, fifth graders from Zeman Elementary in Lincoln, Nebraska, got a handout that listed the school's tips for combating bullying, and they are, might I say, the most ridiculous set of tips that I have ever seen for dealing with bullying. Not only do these rules create a sense of Stockholm Syndrome, but they turn the victim into the guilty party, making it look like their very existence is at fault for the bullying. 

{ MORE: Bully Prevention or Instruction? Are Anti-Bullying Programs Effective? }

How would that feel? Dreading to go to school each day because you were constantly mocked for your weight or your clothes or your speech impediment, and then when you ask for help, you are told that you just need to suck it up and accept it? I would never leave my room.

So I present to you the illustrious list of absolute ridiculousness that Zeman Elementary gave to its fifth-grade students. Just for extra flavor and understanding, I added some of the descriptions for each of the tips that the school gave on the paper that was sent home to parents.

  1. Refuse to get mad: Anger is a feeling we have toward our enemies, not our buddies. When you get, angry you are treating them like they are an enemy. 
  2. Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you: No matter ho insulting or mean they may sound, be grateful and think they really care about you. (This does not mean you have to believe what they tell you.)
  3. Do not be afraid: When you are afraid, you are treating the bully like an enemy. If you [are] afraid, you are automatically putting the bully in the stronger position, and you automatically lose, and since the bully wants to keep winning, they will continue doing things to make you feel afraid.
  4. Do not verbally defend yourself: We defend ourselves from enemies, so we are treating the other person as an enemy, not a friend. When one person attacks and the other person is the defender, the attacker, is in the stronger position, so the defender is automatically the loser. If we defend, we lose.
  5. Do not attack: We attack enemies, not friends, If I attack you back, I am treating you like an enemy, so the bully will, in return, treat you like an enemy. It takes two people to fight, so it's the person who retaliates who actually starts the fight.
  6. If someone physically hurts you, just show you are hurt; do not get angry: If someone hurts you, you want them to feel sorry and apologize. If you get angry, they won't feel sorry.
  7. Do not tell on bullies: The number one reason bullies hate their victims is because the victims tell on them. Telling makes the bully want to retaliate. Tell an adult only when a real injury or crime (theft of something valuable) has occurred. Would we keep our friends if we tattled on them?
  8. Don't be a sore loser: Lose gracefully and be a good sport; kids will like you better.
  9. Learn to laugh at yourself and not get “hooked” on put-downs: Make a joke out of it or agree with the put-down.

I think out of all of the tips, number nine is by far my favorite. Learn to laugh at yourself and not get “hooked” on put-downs. “Haha. Yeah, you're right, (insert name of bully here). My clothes are absolutely hideous, and I am ugly. (Bully's name), you are such a funny guy! You sure do bring out the best in me.”

Wait. What!?


You mean to tell me that the school is actually giving tips on how to treat hurtful comments as light-hearted, self-deprecating humor? That is not going to fly. In fact, this theme goes right along with tip number two: Treat the person who is being mean as if they are trying to help you. Essentially what this is saying that when someone mocks the way that you speak or that you don't belong in a certain group because of your skin color, the bully is only trying to help you find your place in this world.

{ MORE: What to Do When Your Child IS the Bully }

I have so much more to say about this, but I want to hear what you have to say about this. What would you do if your fifth grader walked home with this list? What real tips do you have to combat bullying? Let us know in the comments!

What do you think?

Why Are You Getting Bullied? Because You’re Asking for It.

Jace Whatcott is a self-diagnosed introvert who loves crossword puzzles, golf, and reading. Despite being a male contributor—one of the few on this particular website—he is not in unfamiliar territory. Because he is an English major, 90% of his classmates are females, so he’s not too worried about being a fish out of water. One of his favorite things to do is to raid local thrift stores for used books. He’s always looking for something to read, or for something to put on his endless to-r ... More

Tell us what you think!


  1. Paulina says:

    My daughter age 7 is in grade 2 and she has been getting bullied by the same girl since kindergarten. I have spoken to each teacher she has had every different year and they all have done absolutely nothing about it. When she was in kindergarten she used to come home crying every other day and when I spoke to the teacher she would totally dismiss the bullies actions she would say well your daughter isn’t very nice either she would say things like I’m not inviting you to my birthday well I guess so I wouldn’t invite her to my birthday either if she was picking on me but according to the teacher since my daughter would kind of defend herself then the bullying didn’t count. So after that I kinda gave up with the school and tried couching my daughter at home how to deal with her but this bully was seeing who my daughter was playing with at school and somehow managed to turn all her friends against her it came to the point when she had no friends and didn’t want to go to school and this is kindergarten! So my older son was having to give up his recesses with his friends to play with her. All this is still going on in grade 2 I’m so frustrated I’m almost at the point of putting her at a different school but my daughter says she doesn’t want to switch schools, the thing that gets me the most is the teachers and principal is aware of the bullying but they keep putting them in the same class each year I will never understand that
    Does anyone have any ideas on what to do because honestly I’m at my wits end

  2. And remember kids, when you go to “authorities,” the school administrators will almost always stick up for the bullies (maybe because they identify with each other?). Been bullied most of my life up until college, saw many teachers and admins turn a blind eye or side with the bully…always made me so mad because that’s what my teachers did when I was young, and why my Mom decided to homeschool me. They always told me if I stood up for myself or had to physically defend myself, they would stand with me…and true to their word they did. To this day, I don’t discipline children who are merely protecting themselves or standing up for themselves, and ironically enough bullies respect adults that stand up to them/discipline them more than those who pretend nothing happened.

  3. molly says:

    i was bullied all through school and if this had been handed to me or one of my friends i would have taken it to the principles office and ripped it up throw it on their desk and spit on it. in all my school it only got physical once and i ended up with a big red hand print on my face and a girl almost got a broken nose and the teacher did nothing about it i went home and told my mom and she was PO she called the school screaming saying it should have been dealt with by the teacher not by her in the end the girl tried to get me suspended but she got it and ISS all because i didn’t have time to retaliate. i will give the same advice to my two kids if they are being bullied you let them throw the first to blows don’t matter what it is push, hit, punch, and if you have the time you better make it count and hit them back defend yourself i’m not gonna always be there to fight your battles.

  4. Haley says:

    These rules are absolutely horrible! I know personally.
    I was bullied my whole life. For being to skinny, then being too fat. Then the what music I listen too. Then how I talk.
    You know it ended?
    It ended with me hitting a girl, breaking two of her teeth, and being on probation for a year.


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