National Anti-Bullying Month kicks off
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 02:10
October 2012 is National Bullying Prevention Month and PACER is making it known that the “end of bullying begins with you.”
PACER started this campaign in 2006, and what was originally a weeklong awareness campaign, turned into a month long event campaign by 2012.
PACER is the organization behind bullying prevention and champions for other societal issues as well. PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center is home to many resources and has coined the powerful phrase, “The End of Bullying Begins with You.”
Hundreds of thousands of students stay home from school each year from fear of being bullied, according to ABC News, and, to add to that, nearly 30 percent of those students are bullies or victims of bullying.
Brittany Ainsworth, a senior elementary education major from Magee, agrees that the end of bullying certainly does begin with you. As a student in the education department at Southern Miss, Ainsworth said the department is doing a great job at preparing future teachers to identify bullying and make their classrooms a safe place.
“The professors at USM are making sure we as future teachers know that one of the most important things teachers can do is to have a safe classroom environment for the students to come to each day. They are making sure we understand that it is the teacher’s responsibility to make sure their classroom is a safe environment surrounded by acceptance and respect.”
With the rise of the Internet and text messaging, society has been given the blessing (or curse?) to be able to say what he or she wants whenever he or she wants to say it, no matter how harsh it may sound or whom it may hurt. There are Internet blogging websites that allow the user to receive anonymous messages, sometimes not-so-nice messages, which usually leads to the anonymous sender feeling as if he or she the power to say whatever to whomever, even if it destroys the receiver.
Recently, Jennifer Livingston, a news anchor from Wisconsin, revealed an email she received from a man who said he was “concerned with her unchanging physical condition,” stepped forward with a powerful message regarding her stance on bullying and how it starts with changes at home and in the community.
Reality television shows, such as the Real Housewives of New Jersey, has managed to leave many speechless. The cast of the show has taken things to a new, even more ruthless level, bullying women who have had the Lap Band surgery in order to lose weight, one member of the cast has even been bullied because of her controversial past that may or may not have even been true.
Young women and men are growing up in a society that gives all the tools to bullies and then gets angry whenever the bully uses the tools to his or her advantage. PACER’s goal is to try to prevent bullying before it even starts by giving those aiming for prevention accurate tools in order to help him or her succeed with the bullying prevention plans.
According to the Bullying Statistics website (www.bullyingstatistics.org), bully victims (whether bullied physically, emotionally, through the Internet by cyberbullying or through sexting) are 2 to 9 times more likely to consider suicide than non-bully victims.
What can you do as a college student to help prevent bullying? You can unite with PACER and the National Bullying Prevention Month campaign and take an active stance against bullying.
Krissy Liles, a Hattiesburg native and senior elementary education major, believes the bully should be helped along with the bully victim. Liles also said that prevention could start anywhere.
“Since children watch and learn from everything they see and hear, it is important that we all show them how important it is not to bully others. Bullying prevention can truly start anywhere. We must be mentors and role models for children because they see and copy everything we do,” Liles said.
If you would like to discover more about how you can get involved with PACER and their mission to prevent bullying nationally, check out their website at www.pacer.org/bullying.