It’s aggressive, mean, and potentially life-threatening. Bullying comes in many forms, none of which are acceptable. According to a recent federal survey, nearly 20 percent of U.S. high school students reported being bullied on school property within the past year. (Fifteen percent reported cyberbullying.) So how can we help?
We can start by launching a community-wide educational effort that focuses on celebrating our differences.
October’s National Bullying Prevention Month reminds us that students, parents, teachers, and school administrators all play a role. Positive change comes as we begin to emphasize respect and inclusion on campuses across the country.
National Bullying Prevention Month timeline
A.I. vs. cyberbullying
A language researcher in Belgium used A.I. (artificial intelligence) to block words and phrases associated with bullying on social media site AskFM.
National Bullying Prevention Month founded
The PACER Center, which works on behalf of children, youth, and young adults with disabilities, started National Bullying Prevention Month.
Psychologist Dan Olweus' landmark book "Bullying at School" identified characteristics of both bullies and victims.
Swedish psychologist Heinz Leymann defined and analyzed the acts that make up workplace bullying.
How to Observe National Bullying Prevention Month
Students: Practice empathy
Reach out to new classmates this month — especially those who appear to be struggling. Report bullying when you see it and don't let others suffer in silence.
Teachers: Reward students who show respect
Positive reinforcement works. Students who demonstrate thoughtfulness and respect for classmates, adults, and the school itself deserve your accolades.
Administrators: Plan bullying prevention programs
Make sure parents, teachers, and students understand the problem and know how to confront it.
5 Must-Read YA Novels About Bullying
“Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher (2011)
A high school girl leaves behind a series of cassette tapes after taking her own life. Those tapes lead classmate Clay Jensen on a chilling journey as he reconstructs her pain.
“This is Where It Ends” by Marieke Nijkamp (2019)
Bullied teen Tyler Browne conjures up an unspeakable plan to exact revenge on those who have wronged him. Note: This book contains scenes of violence.
“A Piece of Heaven” by Angel Lawson (2018)
An anti-bullying theme runs through this novel about 18-year-old Heaven, who’s dealing with anxiety and shame. The book touches on bullying in all forms.
“Moxie” by Jennifer Mathieu (2017)
Viv rebels against the power imbalance at her Texas high school — especially the football players who are allowed to sleep through class and bully other students in front of teachers.
“The Outsiders” by S. E. Hinton (1967)
The classic. Hinton began writing this book when she was just 15. The novel focuses on two rival gangs; one, working-class, the other, upper-class. It’s a powerful story of a boy (Ponyboy Curtis) who finds himself on the outskirts of society.
Why National Bullying Prevention Month is Important
Students feel safer
That means parents worry less and teachers can focus on their work. Everyone wins when bullying stops.
A sense of teamwork
Students. Parents. Teachers. School administrators. We're all in this together. Remember, one school principal can't stop this problem alone.
Back-to-school has a whole new meaning
October brings fresh connections and new friendships, while setting the tone for the rest of the school year. Let's try to confront bullying as early as possible.