How to Stop Bullying in Your Youth Group
Bullying has always been a problem, but today it’s a different kind of problem.
When you consider that 91% of students report that they’ve been a victim of bullying it demands our attention. And with social media, victims can be bullied 24/7 and they can be attacked in multiple unrelenting waves.
We made a decision that bullying was such an important issue for our high school ministry that we placed a spotlight on it to render it harmless.
Along with one of our core values (Everyone Matters), we rolled out a new guideline to our group that if a student feels they’ve been bullied, they can report it to our leaders and we will meet with the students involved as well as their parents to resolve the issue.
We also made it clear that this meeting would be the one and only warning to the bully. And that if it were to happen again, with that student or another, they would be asked to leave our youth ministry permanently. No questions asked.
Within a week a student came to us reporting that they had been bullied. We met with the families involved and word spread throughout the group that this was for real.
We’ve had no reports of bullying since.
Although the “excommunication” punishment may seem severe to you and me, it isn’t severe enough to a parent who’s watched their child go through professional counseling as a victim of bullying.
We’ve made a statement to our families that safety is our number one priority. It’s proven priceless to our parents, and it’s proven priceless to our students…
“I love our youth group. We’re a safe place and that’s super rare today. I invite my friends to come because I know they’re gonna have fun, but I also know that they’re gonna be ok.”
ROB GILLEN is the High School & College Age Pastor at Christian Life Assembly in Camp Hill, PA and has served in student ministries for 10 years. He has his Masters in theological studies and he’s an Adjunct Professor at the University of Valley Forge. Rob and his wife Kara parent a son and two beautiful daughters.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.