October marks 10 years of Bullying Prevention Month

Published 10:42 am Monday, October 24, 2016

Much can occur in a decade, and PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center proves it. Over the past 10 years, the Center’s National Bullying Prevention Month campaign grew from a small event to a worldwide effort with multiple activities. National Bullying Prevention Month in October is supported by hundreds of schools, major corporations, and celebrities.

“October is a time when educators, students, parents, and community members can unite to share their support for the important issue of bullying prevention,” said Julie Hertzog, director of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. “Together, we can make our schools and communities safer.”

Children who are at risk for being bullied may have one or more of the following risk factors:

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— are perceived as different from their peers, such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school, or being unable to afford what kids consider “cool”

— are perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves

— are depressed, anxious, or have low self esteem

— are less popular than others and have few friends

— do not get along well with others, seen as annoying or provoking, or antagonize others for attention.

However, even if a child has these risk factors, it doesn’t mean that they will be bullied.

There are two types of kids who are more likely to bully others:

— some are well-connected to their peers, have social power, are overly concerned about their popularity, and like to dominate or be in charge of others.

— others are more isolated from their peers and may be depressed or anxious, have low self esteem, be less involved in school, be easily pressured by peers, or not identify with the emotions or feelings of others.

Children who have these factors are also more likely to bully others:

— are aggressive or easily frustrated

— have less parental involvement or having issues at home

— think badly of others

— have difficulty following rules

— view violence in a positive way

— have friends who bully others

Remember, those who bully others do not need to be stronger or bigger than those they bully. The power imbalance can come from a number of sources — popularity, strength, cognitive ability — and children who bully may have more than one of these characteristics.

There is no federal law that specifically applies to bullying. In some cases, when bullying is based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability or religion, bullying overlaps with harassment and schools are legally obligated to address it. With more awareness and support, this can change.

Schools and community members can get involved this October for the 10-year anniversary of National Bullying Prevention Month by simply wearing orange. People can send the message of unity and support by wearing orange items, such as T-shirts, socks, hats, ties, wristbands, or shoelaces all month long.

Information gathered from Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center website and the Stop Bullying website. For more information about National Bullying Prevention Month and to learn how to become involved in this worldwide campaign, visit PACER.org/bullying or stopbullying.gov. Article prepared by Mariah Winstead, EKU Intern with Clark County Health Department

Please visit the Clark County Health Department website at www.clarkhealthdept.org. Find us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @CCHealthDept.