I've never thought a lot about bearing bad news as I've thought of it more as telling the truth, relaying the facts, and being honest. Yet recently I was the bearer of bad news, and the consequences were not what I expected. Rather than seeing the bad news as the culprit, I was seen in that role instead.
What's a teacher to do?
I actually looked up what it means to be the bearer of bad news and found a good article about when engineers face this quandary. Imagine if you are engineer and you notice a technical flaw on a building or bridge once that structure is almost complete--a flaw that would cost the company a lot of money to fix or potentially a lot of lives if the building is left without repair. This is bad news that no construction company wants to face, however, an engineer who is ethical will report the problem and work towards right action.
Generally when I'm put in a position of bearing bad news or staying silent, I envision the worst case scenario, long range implications, and/or front page news, and choose that which is truthful and positive for those involved. Often there's the short term anguish of bearing the bad news, but in the long run, I've never regretted speaking up to injustice or in the face of problematic circumstances.
In all circumstances, it's best to do your best and live by your beliefs and ethics. This matters a lot to me.