Takes on Bullying Problems for Animals & People
Information Contributed by Shakela Brown, WHS Humane Education Manager
Bullies often think they can pick on others, because they have no fear of
consequences. In urban communities; however, the term “bully” is rarely used or
“Bullying is not considered bullying in certain neighborhoods; it’s a way of life,” said Shakela Brown, the Washington Humane Society’s (WHS) Humane Education Manager. Because Brown works with students and animals, she has experience with the toll that bullies can take on both. While some may not see the comparison, Brown teaches that animal bullying is the same as people bullying – the victims are always beings that cannot speak for themselves.
Recently, Brown rewarded a student who reported finding a stray cat outside of his school to WHS. After being presented with a T-shirt and certificate during lunch, a fellow student came up to the boy and called him a “cat boy,” putting him down after being rewarded for doing the right thing. When Brown spoke with their class later that day, she used examples and prompts to help them understand that reporting animal emergencies is a positive thing to do. According to Brown, children often misunderstand the difference between helping, snitching, and doing their part.
The following tips are useful in handling bullying of people and animals alike.
Anti-bulling Tips for Kids:
- Don’t laugh when a bully is hurting or making fun of an animal or a person.
- Don’t get involved in the fight. It could cause a larger fight or situation.
- Tell a trusted adult – a counselor, parent, teacher, or mentor – that could help.
- Being called a snitch is worse than saying nothing at all.
Anti-bulling Tips for Teachers and Adults:
- Listen. Students need to know you care first, before you can try to help them.
- Each cat and dog is different - so are people! Encourage kids to learn from their differences.
- Avoid telling children to ignore bullies. This often doesn’t work.
- Handle every situation individually and delicately to ensure that students and animals stay safe.
- Take responsibility to find and share anti-bullying resources with other adults in a student’s life.
- Encourage schools to have a “no tolerance” policy for bullying.
- Join hands with schools, organizations, neighborhoods, policy makers, and other families to help combat the growing concern about bullies for both people and animals.
Interested in volunteering with the WHS Humane Education
program or having a workshop in your District school? Contact Shakela Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also email
Brown with any questions about Humane Education or how to develop lessons that
incorporate both animal and child bullying issues.
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