Get involved to help prevent and raise awareness
October in National Bullying Prevention Month, a time to focus and raise awareness on bullying. During this month, many groups across the country will release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of bullying.
What is Bullying?
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.
There are many other types of aggressive behavior that don’t fit the definition of bullying. This does not mean that they are any less serious or require less attention than bullying. Rather, these behaviors require different prevention and response strategies.
National Bullying Prevention Month
Beginning in October 2006, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, along with the National Education Association, National PTA , American Federation for Teachers, and the National Coalition for Parent Involvement in Education, hosted the first awareness week sponsoring events and activities to raise awareness of the issue of bullying throughout the month. PACER realized that students, parents, and people throughout the country needed to become more aware of the serious consequences of bullying. The point of National Bullying Prevention Month was to transform a society that accepts bullying into a society that recognizes that bullying must – and can – be addressed through education and support.
Over the past several years, the event has only grown in awareness and in its reach. “It has grown beyond our expectations,” says Paula F. Goldberg, PACER’s executive director. “It has become a major event.” National Bullying Prevention Month is now recognized in communities across the United States, with hundreds of schools and organizations signing on as partners.
This year, Bullying Prevention Month features many new initiatives. Among the many, PACER is releasing several new toolkits and public service announcements. The NEA is releasing new training modules to help education support professionals address bullying. DoSomething.org is releasing new findings from their online survey about bullying. And, the “be more than a bystander” campaign with the Ad Council officially launches on StopBullying.gov.
There are various events in October in which you can get involved to help prevent and raise awareness about bullying:
- Run, Walk, Roll Against Bullying, on October 6, encourages communities to stage events to show support against bullying. This year, organizations from Las Vegas, Nevada to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, and from Jonesboro, Arkansas to San Diego, California are staging Run, Walk, Roll Against Bullying events to raise awareness in their communities.
- Unity Day, on October 10, is a time when people across the country wear orange as a show of support for students who have been bullied. Ellen DeGeneres wore orange on her TV show during last year’s Unity Day.
- Youth can enter the Stop Bullying Video Challenge: Encourage the youth in your life to submit original PSAs, 30 to 60 seconds in length, that showcase ways they are taking action against bullying and promoting a culture of kindness and respect in their communities. The deadline for submission is October 14, and the top prize is $2,000. Full details about the contest, including submission guidelines and rules for eligibility are available at stopbullying.challenge.gov.
With all of these new resources and attention, it is a great time to consider how you can help raise awareness about bullying and take action to stop it. Tell us what you are going to do by engaging on Facebook and Twitter.
Additional Federal Resources:
- The Office of Adolescent Health, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has resources on healthy relationships in adolescence, including how adolescents and those who care about them can help prevent or stop bullying.
- StopBullying.gov, a special initiative from the Department of Health and Human Services, provides information and resources from government agencies on how to prevent, respond, and take action against bullying.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Striving To Reduce Youth Violence Everywhere (STRYVE) initiative provides communities with the knowledge and resources to prevent youth violence, including bullying.