bullying prevention month

Bullying Prevention Month: Building Safe Spaces for All

October signifies National Bullying Prevention Month, an event initiated by PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center in 2006. The event raises awareness about the detrimental effects of bullying, which affects everyone and can have profound and lasting impacts on their physical, emotional, and psychological well-being. 

The month reminds us that we all are responsible for addressing this issue and working towards creating safer environments for our children. The ultimate goal is to reduce bullying statistics and also build more compassionate communities where children can grow and thrive without fear. 

Featured in: October - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

History and Background of Bullying Prevention Month

girl alone in hallway
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

In 2006, PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center initiated the event to address the significant issue of bullying. Paula Goldberg and Judy French founded a campaign to create safer school environments free from the fear of bullying. 

The original plan was a week-long awareness event, but due to the issue's magnitude, it soon became a month-long observance from 2010 onwards. This extension allowed for a more profound stance against bullying and greater educational outreach.

Further, this occasion has achieved notable landmarks throughout its timeline. 

Its message resonated globally in 2012, finding allies as far apart as Australia and Japan. In 2014, the "Choose Kindness" campaign, a collaboration between Disney, ESPN, and PACER, extended its reach and amplified its influence. 

The inception of "Unity Day" in 2016, which calls for people to wear orange as a show of support for victims, captures the spirit of unity at the heart of the campaign.

The Cause and Its Challenges

Bullying, a multifaceted issue, presents in forms such as in-person harassment and increasing online attacks, potentially leading to severe emotional effects like depression or anxiety. With the digital age, cyberbullying is also on the rise. 

Such harassment is not one-sided, as consequences also befall the bullies, developing antisocial behavior, addiction, and mental health issues. 

Although progress has been made in forming anti-bullying policies and laws, their enforcement is hindered by limited resources and the complexities of addressing this issue. Furthermore, the persistent stigma attached to bullying victims discourages them from raising their concerns. 

5 Facts On Why Bullying Prevention Month Matters

children in classroom
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Here are five facts about bullying of students aged 12 to 18 from the U.S. Department of Education for the school year 2018-2019:

1. Only one out of five (22%) students reported being bullied at school.

2. The students felt the harmful effects of bullying on their self-esteem (27.8%), family and friend relationships (17.5%), school performance (17.2%), and physical health (12%).

3. Among the students, bullying occurs mainly in a classroom at 46.7%. It also appears online or through text messaging at 15.8%.

4. Students frequently cite factors like physical looks, racial or ethnic background, gender, disability, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation as triggers for bullying.

5. A worrying increase in suicidal thoughts has been observed in students who bully others regularly or regularly bully themselves1.

Efforts and Initiatives

UNICEF's #ENDviolence initiative is a global campaign to prevent and respond to violence against children, including bullying. Their efforts include policy advocacy, programmatic support, and partnerships, which have been effective in making a positive impact.

There’s also StopBullying, which the U.S. Department of Health oversees. It provides the know-how to stop bullying—resources, strategies—and ensure safety and respect for everyone, especially young people.

The Kind Campaign uses a global movement, school presentations, and an educational curriculum to highlight the lasting effects of girl-against-girl bullying, focusing on changing behaviors and promoting healing.

How to Get Involved With Bullying Prevention Month

kids happily playing
Photo by MI PHAM on Unsplash
  • Speak Up: Break the silence and initiate conversations about bullying within your community to inform and empower others. 
  • Educate Yourself: Learn about the various forms, impacts, and prevention methods of different bullying situations to better understand the issue.
  • Share Resources: Use social media to distribute helpful information from credible sources like StopBullying, ensuring broader awareness.
  • Volunteer: Dedicate your time to community organizations or online platforms that are active in bullying prevention.
  • Lead by Example: Demonstrate respectful and empathetic behavior online and offline to set a positive standard for interaction.
  • Support Victims: Reach out to individuals who’ve experienced bullying, showing them they are not alone and their feelings are valid.
  • Advocate Policies: Encourage parents, community members, and policymakers to enforce anti-bullying policies in the school system, promoting a safe environment for everyone.
  • Reward students: For teachers, praise those who show respect and compassion to other students.

Conclusion

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, which reminds us of the prevalent issue of bullying in our society. Every year, this awareness month also reminds us to create an environment that promotes respect, empathy, and kindness instead of hostility and harm.  

Let’s create an environment rooted in respect and kindness every October and year-round.

Bullying Prevention Month FAQs

1. What is Bullying Prevention Month?

It is an annual campaign held in October to raise awareness about the harmful effects of bullying and promote prevention strategies.

2. Why is it important?

This awareness month aims to educate communities and empower individuals to take action against bullying.

3. How can I help stop bullying?

You can spread awareness through social media, participate in local events, educate yourself about bullying prevention strategies, and stand up against bullying when you see it.

4. What are some signs that someone may be getting bullied?

Signs of bullying can include changes in behavior, withdrawal from social activities, unexplained injuries, sudden drop in academic performance, loss of belongings, and emotional distress.

5. What can schools and communities do to prevent bullying?

School administrators and communities can implement comprehensive anti-bullying policies, foster a safe and inclusive environment, provide education and training on bullying prevention, promote empathy and kindness, and encourage open communication about bullying incidents.

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1

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control (2014). The Relationship Between Bullying and Suicide: What we Know and What it Means for Schools.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

Photo by Nadine Shaabana on Unsplash
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