Fear of being labelled a “rat” or “snitch” is powerful among teens. Schools must work on all levels (individually, in classrooms and other group settings, and systemically) to gain students’ trust and provide meaningful and reliable recourse for students who are witnessing or experiencing bullying.
It is worthwhile reminding students that while those who bully may seem really powerful, those who object to bullying are in the majority. For this reason, encouraging students to take action together, with others who feel the same way, is generally more effective than expecting them to come forward individually. Even with peer support, students will need the support of adults and of the school system to make change happen.