Image courtesy of Connect Safely.org
National Bullying Prevention Month was founded in 2006 by PACER. It began as a week-long event intended to raise awareness about bullying and the long-term effects. After partnering with many education-based organizations such as the National Education Association and the National PTA, PACER has become a reliable source for parents, students, and teachers to get valuable resources about bullying prevention.
The campaign has expanded to a month-long awareness event. Students, parents, and teachers are encouraged to take part in activities that educate and inform. Teaching our children and our peers about kindness, acceptance, understanding, and getting involved.
According to PACER, 1 out of every 4 students is bullied. Pacer also reports that the reasons for being bullied reported most often by students were looks (55%), body shape (37%), and race (16%) (Davis and Nixon, 2010).
PACER lists the following as effects of bullying:
- Students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment (Center for Disease Control, 2012).
- Students who bully others are at increased risk for substance use, academic problems, and violence later in adolescence and adulthood (Center for Disease Control, 2012).
- Compared to students who only bully, or who are only victims, students who do both suffer the most serious consequences and are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems (Center for Disease Control, 2012).
- Students who experience bullying are twice as likely as non-bullied peers to experience negative health effects such as headaches and stomachaches (Gini and Pozzoli, 2013)
Image courtesy of Yth.org.
Pacer and other organizations are taking the lead in helping reduce bullying, but parents should play an active role in teaching their children about respect and treating others with kindness. It’s never too early to begin these discussions and often times the best way to address the subject is through books. Here are a few books to inspire conversations about kindness.
I Am Jack: “Jack is an inventor, a photographer, a handball player, and a joke teller. He likes hanging out with his friends; he likes going to school – until George Hamel calls Jack “Butthead.” Pretty soon, all the kids at school call Jack “Butt head.” Jack’s in BIG trouble … school is getting dangerous. Will anyone listen? Can anyone help?”
Being Jack: “The fourth and concluding book about Jack – an ordinary boy who does extraordinary things. Jack still loves photography, surfing, and his crazy family, and things are going well until he notices that his best friend Christopher is starting to miss school and hiding out and avoiding everyone. And when a soccer game turns ugly, Jack knows that, again, the bullying has to stop.”
Bob Is A Unicorn: “Bob is not a unicorn. His friend George knows that. So does Stella. And Ted, and Larry. In fact, it’s definite: Bob is not a unicorn. Or is he? Bob is a Unicorn, by beloved author Michelle Nelson-Schmidt, celebrates both the power of imagination and the importance of always – no matter what anyone else says – believing in yourself.”
Do Nice Be Kind Spread Happy: “This cool and quirky title is full of ways to spread a bit of happy, and release your inner ninja of niceness with some guerrilla acts of goodness. From sending hugs through the mail to being “pushy” at the park, there’s a helper hint for every hero.”
Butterflies: “I know there are miracles. The Professor said there are miracles. I’ll have soft skin and pretty hair one day. One day, I’ll wear my hair up. Katherine is almost eighteen. Severely burned when she was three, she dreams that one day she will look like everyone else. Be like everyone else. Achieve her dreams. But Katherine won’t be seen as a victim. Her life is filled with fun and humor and friendship, as she faces her first “real” date, arguments with her mum, and decisions about her future. An extraordinary story of a journey where pain and trauma become triumph and a passion for living, Butterflies is a coming of age story that celebrates the fighter in all of us.”
Book summaries from Usborne Books
Have you experienced bullying or know someone who has?