October is National Bullying Prevention Month
The PACER Center was founded in 1977, and created by parents of children and teens with disabilities, to help other families facing similar difficulties. In 2006, PACER created a one week campaign encouraging people of all ages and circumstances to take an active role in bullying prevention. The campaign was so successful, that it evolved into a month long awareness effort now known as National Bullying Prevention Month. Events across the country involve fitness activities that raise money, and other events to educate the public.
Bullying takes place on school campuses across the nation. It also occurs in the workplace and even on the home front. More recently, cyberbullying has become a significant problem, thanks to the development of technology and online social networks. School bullying statistics suggest that about one in four kids are bullied on a regular basis. Kids in the sixth to tenth grades are most likely to be involved in bullying.
Verbal bullying is the most common type of bullying.
Verbal bullying can involve spreading rumors, yelling curse words at someone publicly, and involve a person’s race, gender, ethnicity, culture or sexual orientation. About half of kids who go to school fear being bullied in the student bathrooms, since that is typically an area that is less likely to be frequented by adult authority figures.
Unfortunately, in about 85% of bullying cases, no intervention occurs. Teachers and school administrators often miss opportunities to intervene. There has been a push in recent years to deal with bullying at schools, in part because of high-visibility student suicide cases.
About 32% of teens polled say they have experienced cyber-bullying. About 50% of teens polled say they have said something mean or hurtful to another student online, and most have done it more than once.
Provide the Tools to Educate and Stop Bullying
One program that aims to stop bullying and aggression is MindUP, a curriculum developed by the Hawn Foundation. This research-based training program for educators and children is comprised of 15 lessons based on neuroscience. Students learn to self-regulate their behavior and mindfully engage with school lessons. Focused concentration and complex problem-solving skills are key components of the program. A child’s overall sense of well-being is enhanced when they can succeed academically and thrive personally and this can make them less likely to bully someone else or be bullied.
HealthCorps has a full curriculum on mental strength and resiliency. One lesson in particular, Busting Up Bullying encourages students to describe the interrelationships of emotional, intellectual, physical and social health when bullied, and to then adapt health messages and communication techniques about bullying to personal circumstance. The lesson helps teens to learn how to advocate for a bully-free school.
Some of the other ways to stop bullying may involve school bullying policies, clear consequences for bullying, educating potential victims and perpetrators, and getting the community involved. Potential bullies do need outlets and behavior suggestions so they can channel aggression in a more productive way. Victims need counseling so they have the tools to manage a situation or the ability and willingness to report bullying. They then have to have an expectation of intervention and conflict resolution, since no child or teen will report an incident if they think it will be ignored or mishandled. Schools need to educate staff and involve parents so that students feel there is a community of support.
Take advantage of the resources listed below and pledge to stop bullying now!!