October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Bullying can be verbal, physical, or online (cyber-bullying) and it can severely affect a child’s school performance, often leading to insecurity, lack of self-esteem and depression. California legislation enacted in July of 2012, known as “Seth’s Law”, requires California public schools to have a strong anti-bullying policy as well as a process to evaluate reports of bullying. The law also requires that schools publicize the anti-bullying policy and include anti-bullying resources on the school website. Mill Valley’s Tamalpais High School has begun a new initiative to fight bullying at Tam, starting with a survey distributed to students during tutorial in January. The survey asked students to supply names of anyone they considered a bully and questioned students on their exposure to bullying. While the survey results are not yet available, action will only be taken on “statistically significant date”, said Tam High Assistant Principal Brian Lynch. Lynch also stated that Redwood High School passed out a nearly identical survey earlier this school year. Lynch said the survey is a step in the right direction: “We all play a roll in bullying. It’s not just the victim and the bully, there are the bystanders. And the bystanders are where we need to focus our energy at this school – it’s the people who just sit there and allow it”.
The End of Bullying Begins with Me is the message presented by the PACER Organization’s National Bullying Prevention Center. PACER created this anti-bullying campaign in 2006 with a one-week event that has evolved into a month-long effort to encourage everyone to take an active role in the bullying prevention movement. For a variety of resources for October and throughout the year, please access: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/.
Don’t by a bystander, stand up to bullying. For more information/resources on how to recognize, dealt with, and prevent bullying, please go to: http://www.nctsn.org/resources/public-awareness/bullying-prevention-awareness-month.