Bullying Prevention Starts With Us
October starts National Bullying Awareness Month. It’s a great reminder to create safe spaces and to look out for one another as we move through work and school. Because everyone deserves a safe place to land no matter who they are.
Before we can fight against bullying, we need to define it first. That way, we know exactly what we’re looking for when it comes to protecting each other.
According to Youth.gov: Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Bullying can also take place through technology, known as cyberbullying.
Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
We have the power to stand up to bullying and make everyone feel welcome. It’s up to all of us to make our environment the best place to be. Our hope is that you’ll walk away from this post feeling empowered in how to protect yourself and others.
How Bullying Affects Others
When someone experiences bullying, they are more likely to miss school. This can have an impact on their future. Missing school leads to poor school performance. Some may drop out altogether. They also experience physical and mental distress, and low self-esteem.
Bullied kids are more likely to have anxiety and depression. The sad fact is that bullying affects its victims long after an incident happens. In fact, the mental effects can persist well into adulthood.
People who are bullies themselves are more likely to engage in risky behavior such as drugs or alcohol. They’re also more likely to be bullies towards others even as adults. They may be abusive to their partners and children. They may also have criminal behavior as adults.
This is why it’s so important to start prevention as early as possible. The long-term effects can be devastating.
It’s difficult to be the first one to say something. But, when it comes to keeping everyone safe, it’s necessary. If you see someone being bullied, the worst thing you can be is a bystander.
Tell the bully to stop, and if they don’t, get people on your side to help. Tell another friend. Tell a teacher. Tell a parent. Staying silent doesn’t help anyone. And if you’re the one that is the target of a bully, know that you don’t have to take anything on by yourself. Leave the situation and find an adult or a friend to help you.
Getting bullied isn’t normal and everyone deserves to feel safe in the place that they learn.
Creating a safe environment isn’t your responsibility alone. Having a support system of people is crucial in making sure everyone is safe and welcome.
Encourage Your School to Sponsor a Bullying Prevention Program
This is the perfect month to start Bullying Prevention Programs at your school. PACER - an organization that champions for children with disabilities - has amazing resources that are age appropriate.
You can talk to teachers, your principal, or organizers for the PTA/PTO about events that could take place in your school for the month.
Tell them that having a program in school for bullying prevention actually decreases bullying by about 25%! That’s a significant number that’s worth mentioning.
Run, Walk, Roll Against Bullying is an event in which participating groups of any size raise awareness about bullying. Events like these show that you care. It’s showing your school’s commitment to a safe environment.
Plus, people will be curious about what you’re doing. This gives you a chance to explain why bullying prevention is so important and how passionate your group is about making students feel safe and included.
Does your school have a program like this already in place? Did you have a hand in making it happen? Tell us all about it in the comments. You could inspire each other in the process.