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Bully Victims Need a Healthy Relationship with an Adult

"Boys will be boys" and "Girls just do that" is what we hear from so many people. As a kid myself, I remember getting teased and no one came to help or told me what to do. And, you know what? It hurt me then as much as it hurts kids today. As a school counselor for 10 years, I have developed and tested various techniques for helping students in dealing with bullying. These programs will help the bullies too!

One of the most effective programs I have developed is a staff to student mentor program. This is a school-based program with the professional staff as mentors to students during the school day. Mentors are teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors. The program takes place in school only and mentors do not transport, visit or meet their mentee outside of the school setting.

Parents are involved through phone calls, notes home and conferences with the mentor/staff member. The effectiveness of this program has been astounding. Students have an opportunity to form a healthy relationship with a professional adult who can assist them on a regular basis and support them in dealing with bullies among other things. Through the confidence and skills the student's gain through the relationship with their mentor, they develop skills to deal with bullying and teasing.

The bullies themselves are also part of the mentor/mentee program and work with staff to learn to treat other students with respect. Several mentors, through daily contact with their mentee via checklists, short conversations, etc. has greatly reduced the negative effect these bullies have on other students. This has also supported these "former" bullies to focus on building their own self-confidence, which enables them to be better students and people. The decreased number of office referrals from the students who have been doing the bullying will also encourage your school administrators to support your new mentoring program as well as enable you to obtain grant money to enhance your program.

Our mentor/mentee program "rocks"! As coordinator, I monitor these relationships and provide activities to the mentors to do with their mentees. These activities are about relationship and trust building as well as self- esteem building. Since its inception, the mentor/mentee program has focused on the most basic concerns of schools 'grades, behavior and attendance!! Activities are also provided for this goal also. Mentors are free to create the relationship with their mentee as they see fit. The activities are optional and only to be used as a guide.

For some ideas on amazing activities, send an email to and indicate you want the "Zapper Mentor Activities and Ideas."

You will receive a series of mentor/mentee activities in your email box for the next several days. Use them to assist your mentors in developing their initial relationship with their mentees! Have a bully-free day!

© 2004

Permission granted to reprint this article in print or on your web site so long as the paragraph above is included and contact information is provided to the email

Paula McCoach has been in public education for 23 years. She has been a school counselor for the past 10 in an alternative school and an elementary/middle school in Maryland. She has spearheaded mentor programs, Character Education initiatives, & Bully awareness. For more information, send an email to


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