Bullying Awareness strives to help victims
By Alexandria Ruhs–
I recently stumbled upon a documentary entitled “Bully.” This documentary looked into the lives of three kids between the ages of 12-17.
One child was living with the constant threat of harm over him. Another couldn’t take any more abuse, and threatened several of her tormentors with a deadly weapon. The final child had endured so much abuse that he took his own life in his home.
These are just a few cases of children who are abused by their peers around the country, every single day, in places where they should feel safe. And unfortunately, an uncomfortable amount of these children end up taking their own lives to escape the torment.
Recently, a movement has swept the country striving to spread the awareness of bullying. Parents, friends and siblings have rallied together to create organizations against those who torment other children daily. As it happens, October is the month of bullying awareness. In fact the PACER Center—Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights—is the founding organization for national bullying awareness month.
The PACER Center has done good work with and for children since 1976, but in 2006 they extended their assistance to include an anti-bullying program. They began with an interactive site for children to deal with and prevent bullying. From there, that website evolved into PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, which includes numerous programs and events to encourage children to stand up for one another.
This site is not just for those who are bullied; it is also for victims of bullying, parents, teachers and even the bullies themselves. On this website is a column called “I Care Because…” for anyone to leave comments. The majority of the comments are left by children, and the vast majority of those children have been bullied at some point in their lives. Here are some of their comments:
“I am bullied nearly every day at school. I hate it so much.” –Stephanie, age 16
“My best friend died and was the fault of bullying” –Laura, age 11
“My cousin committed suicide two years ago because he was being horrifically bullied. I will do anything to prevent this from happening to someone else. Can you imagine being like that, so scared, confused and alone? No one should have to go through that.” –Devon, age 16
Too many children are being made the victims of physical, mental and emotional abuse by their peers. It begins as early at elementary school, and can continue up to the collegiate level, and each is as serious as the other. Teachers dismiss bullying with phrases such as, “Boys will be boys” or “Girls are cruel at this age,” but few things are actually done about it.
To prevent bullying, several states have passed legislature instituting anti-bullying programs or policies in schools. Kentucky is one of these states that has collectively made a stand against bullying. This bill, entitled HB91 or The Golden Rule Act, was approved in April 2008.
The main points in the piece of legislature ensure that no one who has been a victim of bullying goes unnoticed. In the first section of this statute, it is stated that “any employee of a school or local board of education who knows or has reasonable cause to believe that a school student has been the victim of a violation…shall immediately cause an oral or written report to be made to the principal of the school attended by the victim.” Later on, the statute describes a list of actions considered “harassment” towards others. These actions range from physical violence, to stalking, to verbal abuse. Kentucky, along with several other states, is working to prevent bullying along with the schools and parents of these children.
So when you’re wearing orange this month, don’t just wear it because Halloween is near. Wear it because it is the color for bullying awareness. Those children who have been ignored and endured persecution need to know that someone cares.
Image courtesy of lbpost.com