There’s no doubt that bullying is a problem that affects a huge range of people.Studies showthat at least 28 percent of U.S. students in grades 6 to 12 experience bullying, and that 99 percent of students in grades 6 to 12 experience cyberbullying.
Bullying isn’t just unpleasant. It can have potentially harmful or grave effects. In fact, experts believe that there is a direct link between suicidal thoughts and attempts and being a victim of a bully.
One way that Americans are working to prevent bullying and foster a culture of kindness in American Schools is by celebrating National Bullying Prevention Month. National Bullying Prevention Month happens annually in October, and it is an excellent opportunity for educators, students, and their surrounding communities to make bullying a thing of the past. Here’s how you can participate this year.
If you work at school, arrange for anti-bullying speakers to come to speak to students. Choose speakers who specialize in talking about the effects of bullying and how to stop it. Invite parents and other community members to attend a speaking event, as well.
Hold a Pledging Event
Come up with a pledge to stop bullying that each student can commit to. Have students in the school sign the pledge and then give them a certificate.
The pledge should not just have each student promise to stop bullying, but also to stand up for and support victims who are being bullied and to help include people who are regularly left out. A pledging event helps foster accountability and a sense of being dedicated to a common cause.
Encourage Letter Writing to Lawmakers
Encourage students and community members to write letters to their state and federal lawmakers changing the laws regarding bullying. By working to help get tougher laws with more concrete punishments into place, students can help create a culture where bullying is simply unacceptable.
Sign Up as a Champion Against Bullying
PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center has a slew of resources for schools to rely on to help prevent bullying in schools. Sign your school up to be a PACER Champion Against Bullying, then take advantage of all the educational materials to help impart lessons about how bullying hurts and how you can stop it.
PACER provides tons of resources to distribute both in print and via organization email newsletters.
Communicate Your Policies to Students and Parents
Students shouldn’t be the only ones involved in National Bullying Prevention Month. Parents should be too. In fact, you can get parents and guardians involved at the start of the school year. Draft your own version of an anti-bullying contract and insert it into the policy section of your custom school planners. A formal contract will ensure students and parents alike that members of the student body know exactly what is expected of them. Parents and students can sign the contract. Ultimately this commitment to abiding by school policies will hold them accountable.
But don’t stop there. Remind your school community about your policies all year round. Hang up posters around your school reminding students that bullying is unacceptable.
Host a “Create a World Without Bullying” Event
Holding a large community event to tackle bullying is a great way to generate awareness and promote the cause. You can order an event kit for a “Create a World Without Bullying Event,” and then host the event at your school.
The toolkit comes with printed resources to read, 5 large posters to promote or decorate your event, a pledge that people can sign while there, and brochures, bookmarks, and flyers to give out. Kits can make the process of hosting an event easier for you while still allowing you to spread the message that bullying needs to stop.
If you work with students and you want them to participate in National Bullying Prevention Month, check out StopBullying.gov. You can find more resources that can help you and your community understand what bullying is, the state laws and policies regarding bullying, steps you can take to prevent it, and resources you can share with others so that they can help, too.