October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and in more than 200 cities across the country, communities and their leaders are coming together to take action against bullying. Bullying is a serious issue facing more than 1 in 4 children nationwide. This is an important topic for me as both my children were bullied when they were in school. There are 3 different types of bullying – verbal; social and physical – and between both my children, we experienced all of them.
When Michael started 8th grade, we moved to a new area. Being the “new kid on the block can be difficult” as he knows. School started out great. He was enthusiastic, happy, and involved for 5 months. Then came the “Birthday punches”, and life changed…again.
We were however, able to turn this ugly experience into a positive one. We felt extremely honored to have Gerda Weissman Klein, a remarkable woman and family friend come and speak at Michael’s school. If anyone knows about tolerance and finding the strength to make it through an awful situation it is Gerda.
Gerda is a Holocast Survivor, an author of many books as well as a professional speaker. She has traveled around the world sharing her story in order to educate; teach tolerance; and help others move on after tragedies. Gerda has appeared on 60 minutes and Nightline, and has won an Academy Award for the HBO documentary called, One Survivor Remembers. In 2011, President Obama awarded her the Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive.
What exactly is bullying? According to stopbullying.gov, a federal government website, “bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.”
Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
What you can do:
- Stop the bullying immediately
- Find out what happened
- Support the kids involved
- Be active in teaching
Thank you Jarrett and Bridget for looking out for Michael and always being there for him. Having such supportive teachers allowed him to persevere, take a stand and be an individual. Have you been bullied before? If so, what did you do about it? We would love to hear your story. Perhaps your sharing will help others.
Be compassionate, Be kind, Be honest, Be True!
Click here to read more about bullying from stopbullying.gov