Stop Bullying! offers kids' views on bullying through thoughtful essays and expressive, colorful drawings. Students in grades 3-8 discuss "Examples of Bullying"; "Why Bullying Hurts"; and "What to Do When You or Another Are Bullied." Stop Bullying! is a tool parents, teachers, and community leaders can use to help children talk about and cope with bullying. An extensive list of resources for teachers and parents is included at the end.
Bullying is a pervasive public health threat among our children. It can start in early grade school and continue through high school. Over 13 million students are affected by bullying in some way every year. Hundreds of thousands of students stay home from school each year to avoid being bullied. Pew Research Center recently reported that a majority of teens have experienced some form of cyberbullying. Kids with a disability, or those who seem different to their peers in appearance or interests, are particularly vulnerable to bullying behavior.
Bullying victims are up to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims. Although some schools have started to educate our children on how to recognize, respond to, and stop bullying, enforcement of anti-bullying school policies and goals remains challenging, in part, due to weak state laws. Mandatory teacher/counselor anti-bullying training and development of a bully free school is necessary. This would include training students to be advocates as bully defenders. Each school/district should have a bully prevention specialist. Stronger civil and criminal penalties are needed for those who tolerate bullying or fail to intervene to protect children. Finally, there needs to be a culture change where kids can freely stand up and speak out in support of their targeted classmates.
If Stop Bullying! helps in any way through education or timely intervention to protect a child or even save a life, then mission accomplished.
Michael F. Becker, Editor