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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Diversity Club makes it clear: Bullies will not be tolerated!

December 2, 2015

Temecula Diversity Club-Stand Speak ActHave you ever felt uncomfortable, watching someone try to fend off the unwanted and uninvited attentions of a person who is overstepping boundaries of respect and consideration? It is difficult and sometimes confusing to know what to do. Should you say something? Do you just wait and hope the moment passes?

Temecula campus’s Diversity Club members decided to create a “Bystander Awareness Intervention” (BAI) video to help educate students about how to identify such behaviors, while it offers suggestions for safe intervention.

“The video was given to all campus instructors to show to their students,” says instructor and Diversity Club advisor, Tamara Earnhardt. “Everyone is more aware now because of discussion in classrooms”

“Harassment is something we see every day,” says student and Diversity Club Chair, Bryce Harris. “Whether in the parking lot, at work, school; we’re mostly just blind to it.”

The Diversity Club’s idea was to show examples of those bully behaviors and how someone can step in, speak up and diffuse a potentially abusive situation. “The video shows people how to get out of being a bystander and into someone who actually does something about a bullying issue,” says Bryce.

The short 3-minute video took a couple of weeks for the 10-member club to write, perform and produce. Diversity Club members did a lot of brainstorming about the content and planned scenes that would best make their educational points. Access the video link:

The final product met their goal. “Jeff Herman, Technology coach for a couple of our campuses, had expertise in computers and added text and graphics to the video,” says Rafael Oropeza, Business Administration instructor and Diversity Club advisor.

It dramatizes two scenes, in which bystander intervention is warranted.

The first scenario focuses on the unwanted attention pushed upon a young woman walking to her car in a parking lot by a guy (played by Bryce) unknown to her. Even though the woman is clearly resistant and tells him, “I don’t even know you;” Bryce’s character insists, “You should get to know me, though.” Three bystanders stepped in to break the intensity of the situation, by asking the girl if she needs help.

“I was basically making myself persistent, to where others had to get involved,” says Bryce.

The second scenario takes place in a classroom, during an exam. A female student pressures a male student to give her his test paper to copy. He resists and she becomes insistent. “She wanted him to cheat and was bullying him for his answers,” says Bryce, who wrote most of the script. Other students told the girl to leave him alone, but she persists. Finally, another girl alerts the teacher, who steps in to resolve the situation.

But, how do you know if someone is just being obnoxious, nosey or flirty? Bullying has a very different vibe.

“It’s important to pay close attention to signals,” says Bryce. “It is how the approach and demeanor come across.”

You don’t have to wear a super hero cape or compromise your own safety to diffuse a potential bullying situation.  These simple bystander options can spare someone the experience of victimization:

  • Distraction: Ask the would-be victim an unrelated question to divert attention away from threatening dialogue and behaviors. It shifts the energy into neutral and safe ground and lets the perpetrator know a witness is present and involved.
  • Group intervention: There is power in numbers. Rally others in the immediate area to get involved by voice or resistant action.
  • Authority intervention: Alert an authority figure to take control of the situation.

“People want to intervene, but don’t know how to do it safely, without putting themselves at risk, also,” says Bryce. The Diversity Club’s BAI video will give them the tools they need to act more confidently.

“I think our goal was met, and we brought awareness because of the discussions in the classrooms,” says Tamara.

Plus the club had a lot of fun along the way. “We had lots of laughs (during video production),” says Tamara. “We should do a blooper reel.”

August is Bystander Awareness Month, so the Diversity Club has plenty of time to sharpen their writing and acting skills before their next video production.