Handling Bullies: Interview With Tim Dimoff

Susie McGee
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Tim Dimoff offers sound advice on how to handle bullies.

Timothy A. Dimoff (CPP) is one of America's leading authorities in high-risk security issues. He is extremely knowledgeable on bullies and school security issues. He's a former police detective and SWAT team member who founded a large security consulting company, SACS Consulting, Inc. specializing in high risk security issues. Tim consults to and develops programs for corporations, schools, businesses, retail establishments, and government agencies to develop preventative measures, policies, personal and building security systems and programs on high risk security issues.

Tim Dimoff in the Media

Tim has appeared on NBC Dateline, Court TV, and CNN, on many radio shows, and in major newspapers including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and the Chicago Tribune. He has written six books, including Life Rage, a comprehensive view of violence in the United States, which includes the subject of bullying.

Tim was kind enough to share some tips and advice for our readers regarding dealing with bullies. With schools back in session all over the country, this is a hot topic, and parents and educators need to know what to do and how to handle this issue. Unfortunately, kids of any age can suffer at the hands of a bully, but steps can be taken to protect our children.

What are some characteristics of a bully?

Bullies are normally very dominating type of personalities who like to degrade, intimidate or embarrass other kids. They will seek to ridicule the clothes, habits, gestures, likes and dislikes of their target, and they will seek out targets (kids) that do not have the skills to deflect, ignore or defend against bullying. Other bystanders that react to the bullying ONLY feed the fire for additional bullying. If the target is negatively affected by the bully, that provides incentive for the bully to continue or to even increase the bullying.

What should kids do when they are being bullied?

First and foremost, the initial reaction of the target is crucial. Anyone who is being bullied should not react or become engaged in the bullying. It is the interactive reaction that entices the bully to continue and/or to come back at a later date/time for more. Secondly, and this is very important, all bullying should be reported to proper or designated personnel and to their parents. Witnesses should also be noted and reported.

How can educators help prevent bullying?

Educators need to have a written policy against bullying, and that policy should be handed out to each and every student to be signed as a condition for attending school. It needs to include clear and concise indications that bullying is NOT permitted. Additionally, it should state that bullying could result in discipline up to and including expulsion from school either temporarily or permanently.

Parents need to have a copy of this policy mailed to their homes. It should not be taken home by the students. A designated person in the school should be assigned to deal with all reports of bullying from students and/or parents. Instituting an anonymous Bully tip line is also very useful.

How should parents react when their kids have been harassed or harmed by a bully?

Parents should be supportive of their children and guide the child to report the bullying to the proper authorities. Parents should make it very clear that reporting bullying is NOT improper and is in fact the right thing to do. Parents should also support school policies and insist that schools not allow bullying at all.

What other information or tips would you like to share with our readers?

Bullying starts and ends with universal training, education, enforcement and following up on all bullying reports.

Handling Bullies: Interview With Tim Dimoff