October is Bullying Prevention Month.
“Nobody likes you. You can’t play on this court. Not at this lunch table. You talk funny. You’re not one of us. Too short. Too tall. Too fat. Too dumb. Too smart.” Hurtful words that cut deep. And in the rapid-fire age of social media that our kids live in, these words become wounds that spread quickly.
We must all work to prevent bullying–in our classrooms, our communities, and our homes. October is Bullying Prevention Month. No, it’s not fun, it doesn’t have a catchy ring to it, and sometimes, adults are actually afraid to talk about the issue. But, it’s our job. We need to stand up, be role models and work for change.
STAND UP. Be the Change and Stop the Bullying: We all need to be a part of the solution. Do your part. Stand up and speak up when someone is being a bully—whether it’s an adult, or a child. I found out that my child was teased at school recently, and I can tell you, it wasn’t a good feeling. Luckily, she told me about it, and I was there to make sure something was done. But lots of kids are silent, ashamed, or don’t know who to turn to. Be a Hero. Be a role model. Don’t shrug and say “kids will be kids.”
Let’s give our kids some tools to talk about bullying, to prevent bullying, and to come to us if & when they have a problem. The best way to make sure that happens is to remain open, caring and truly engaged.
Connect. Create a Culture of Respect: James Dillon, a retired elementary school principal who now speaks at workshops on this issue, recently told education website Edutopia that: “Little things can make a big difference. Simple and genuine gestures, such as regularly greeting students, talking to students, and addressing students by name, help to make students feel connected.”
When students are connected to a school, a classroom, or even the community, they are less likely to engage in bullying behaviors. When children know educators and adults genuinely care about them, they are more likely to report bullying at the early stages and get the help they need.
Care. Participate in the Movement: This infographic gives a snapshot of ways you can reflect on and participate in the anti-bullying campaign, this month and beyond. There are facebook pages, an anti-bullying pledge, and even a text-based game. It can be as simple as having a “Unity” day on campus, where students are encouraged to wear orange, the color that symbolizes taking a stand against bullying.
Let’s make schools safe and inviting for all students. All students deserve that.
Want more resources? Here’s a link to the article from Edutopia called “5 Tips for Bullying Prevention” with different ideas for principals, teachers and parents. And here’s a lesson I’ve posted before, from Squarehead Teachers, which even the youngest children will understand and be strengthened by. The National Bullying Prevention Center has teacher toolkits, resources, and a listing of events designed to raise awareness and get everyone involved to…
Help Stop Bullying: Stand Up. Connect. Care.