Consequences for Bystanders

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 for not
 standing up to the bully on behalf of their classmate;

 Be drawn into bullying behavior by group pressure;

 Feel unsafe, 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.