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How to defeat a bully

To expose the silliness of bullying and inspire pupils to rise above it.

by Guy Donegan-Cross

Suitable for Key Stage 2


To expose the silliness of bullying and inspire pupils to rise above it.

Preparation and materials

  • A bag of sweets/treats with at least 40 sweets/other treats.


  1. Ask 40 pupils to stand at the front.
    Then ask those with brown hair to stand at one end.
    Separate them.
    Now ask the brown-haired group to separate into boys and girls.
    Separate them.
    Now divide the brown-haired boys (or girls) according to eye colour.
    Separate them.
    You should now have a group of 2 or 3 pupils.
  2. Make a big show of how much you like these 2 or 3 pupils, and give them all a sweet/treat, ignoring the others.

    Ask them all to sit down.

    Ask everyone if that was fair. Say, ‘Is it fair to treat someone better or worse than everyone else because of the way they look or speak?’ Elicit the answer no.

    Say that this is what bullies do. They treat people differently because they look different, or they sound different, or have different skills. But this is ridiculous.

    Ask the 40 pupils to stand up again where they are. Give a sweet/treat to each one who missed out. As you do, say that God loves everyone.

  3. Who’s laughing?

    A new soldier started basic training with the Marines. He was a bit different from the rest – quiet, gentle and shy. He soon became the target of name-calling and bullying.

    In the barracks to which this young soldier was assigned, the level of meanness was especially high. The other young men did everything they could to make fun of the new recruit and humiliate him.

    One day someone came up with a bright idea. ‘Let’s scare the daylights out of him by dropping a disarmed hand grenade on the floor and pretending it’s about to explode.’

    They all agreed, and got ready to laugh out loud at his expense.

    The hand grenade was thrown into the middle of the floor, and the warning was yelled. ‘It’s a live grenade. It’s a live grenade! It’s about to explode.’

    They fully expected that this odd kid would go hysterical and run out of the room shrieking. Instead, the young marine fell on the grenade, hugged it to his stomach, and yelled for the other men to flee the barracks. ‘Run for your lives! You’ll be killed!’

    The other Marines froze, suddenly ashamed of their cruel trick.
  4. Say that the only way to defeat bullies is not to become like them, but to be better than them.

    Jesus was bullied, but every time someone insulted him, hit him, or hurt him, he didn’t hit back. Instead, he showed a better way.

    Say that it’s not easy. But God loves everyone. He also loves bullies, and it’s far better to show that kind of love to people who are different, than to pick on their faults.

Time for reflection

Spend a few moments thinking about that story, and how the bullies must have felt.

Have you ever felt like that?

Do you need to apologize to someone today because of the way you might have treated them in the past?

Dear God,
thank you that you love everyone.
Help me to be someone who makes peace, and shows love.


‘Spirit of peace’ (Come and Praise, 85)

Publication date: January 2012   (Vol.14 No.1)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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