In addition to the terrible problems that bullying creates for those who are directly involved, student bystanders to bullying also experience feelings of fear, discomfort, guilt, and helplessness. According to the U.S. Department of Education, bystanders may:
Be afraid to associate with the victim
for fear of either
lowering their own status or of retribution from the bully and becoming victims themselves;
Fear reporting bullying incidents
because they do not want
to be called a 'snitch', a 'tattler', or 'informer';
Experience feelings of guilt and helplessness
standing up to the bully on behalf of their classmate;
Be drawn into bullying behavior
by group pressure;
unable to take action, or a loss of control
"Bullying poisons the educational environment and affects the learning of every child."
- Dan Olweus
U.S. Department of Education. (1998). Preventing Bullying: A Manual for Schools and Communities. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.