Bullying and the Empower Tools

When teaching students about healthy relationships, it is important that they understand the difference between a conflict in a relationship and bullying. Friends don’t get along all the time; they can disagree, make mistakes with each other, and sometimes even have a fight. This is not bullying.

What is Bullying?

“Bullying happens when someone hurts your body, your feelings, your reputation, or your friendships repeatedly and on purpose.”
There is often an imbalance of power.

“Confessions of a Former Bully”, by Trudy Ludwig

The book “Confessions of a Former Bully”, by Trudy Ludwig (sequel to My Secret Bully) is a great resource told from the unusual point of view of the bullier rather than the bullied. Katie gets caught teasing a schoolmate and is forced to meet with the school counselor so that she can make right her wrong and learn to be a better friend. It doesn’t take Katie long to realize that bullying has hurt not only the people around her, but her, too.

In Katie’s plan to make things right, she ends up creating an informative guide book to help kids understand more about the different types of bullying, the motivation of a bully, and tools to deal with bullying situations.

The practical empower tool belt is a great area to focus on with your students.

front cover of "Confessions of a Former Bully" by Trudy Ludwig

Empower Tools:

After reading “Confessions of a Former Bully“, discuss the various empower tools mentioned in the book. Explain that it’s important for all students to be aware of these tools and that it may be good to do an education campaign (media literacy).

Ask students to make a poster of one the empower tools mentioned in the book (e.g. Stop!; Why?; Turn an Insult into a Compliment; Laugh About It!; So, Whatever, Huh, Who Cares?; Walk Away; Agree; Act Silly).

Explain that a display of these strategies will educate other students and can help stop relational aggression.

Further discuss the audience they are aiming to educate with their media. Together co-create the criteria for an effective poster.

Polling other classes in the school or having them come by the “Empower Tools” posters and decide on their preferred tool or strategy to deal with bullies is a great follow-up.

A bar graph can be created or a double bar graph to compare different grades’ preferred strategies.

Videos related to Bullying:


This short but powerful video addresses the topic of cyberbullying and is a good opening for a discussion on the topic.Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices. It can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information causing embarrassment or humiliation.

Posting Online

This video demonstrates the dangers and permanence of posting online. Great to open the discussion on the hazards of online posting.

How to Stop a Bully

This video not only discusses the topic of bullying in a way that kids can relate to, but also gives practical strategies of how to deal with bullies and conflict situations.