Bullying doesn’t have a place in our society or our home, and it serves no purpose. Yet, surveys indicate that bullying is forever present, especially amongst the youth. According to PACER.org, nearly one-third of all school-aged children are bullied each year – upwards of 13 million students.
As I always say, civility starts and ends with the individual. It also starts with groups of people uniting together such as PACER- Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights. In fact, these smart folks are behind the growing and popular “October is National Bullying Prevention Month”. Bravo! In my opinion, teaching bullying prevention in schools is as critical as teaching math and science.
We personally can prompt change if we choose civility in every sticky situation. It takes work, peer involvement and a zero tolerance policy to end bullying. One significant personal effort by Rachel Scott to reach out to students who were picked on by others or who were new at her school resulted in Rachel’s Challenge. This series of student empowering programs and strategies for students and adults to combat bullying was inspired by the first student killed at Columbine High School in 1999. Shortly before her death she wrote,
“I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same. People will never know how far a little kindness can go.” – rachelschallege.org
I’m often reminded that bullies come in all walks of life. They can be the obvious punk who’s in your face or the seemingly intelligent adult who will verbally beat people down because of his or her own shortcomings. Bullies are not gender specific. They are from both sides of the tracks and just maybe they were bullied themselves. Sad.
The reason I left my corporate career to speak about consideration, respect and honesty and manners includes being personally bullied in the workplace and in high school. I’m a firm believer that the principles of etiquette are some of the several time tested compasses for stomping out bulling in the school yard, in the halls of government and in business.
PACER and Rachel’s Challenge offer inspiration and resources you can use to help ignite an anti-bullying program at home, school and elsewhere. Bullying happens, but we can stop it by educating ourselves on how to communicate, address it and end it, period.