OCTOBER, 2016, especially October 19—Founded in 2006 by PACER‘s National Bullying Prevention Center, this important campaign is scheduled to coincide with the autumn school season nationwide. PACER originally was organized in the 1970s in Minnesota by parents of children and youth with disabilities to help families facing similar challenges nationwide. A decade ago, they proposed a week-long anti-bullying campaign each year; now, especially because so many parents and educators appreciate this effort, the focus has extended to the entire month of October.
Each year, PACER reaches out to communities through partnerships with education-based organizations such as National PTA, American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association to provide schools, parents and students with resources to respond to bullying behavior and to begin the shift of societal acceptance of bullying.
This year’s theme is: “A Decade Together Against Bullying.” Wikipedia has details on past years’ themes and other milestones in this campaign.
ReadTheSpirit Books publishes a series of popular and very practical books that combat bullying. The most colorful is Bullying Is No Laughing Matter, a collection created by dozens of top comic strip artists across the nation who each contributed a page on overcoming such bias. Teachers have used this book—sometimes developing lesson plans around a single comic character within the big book. Here’s an earlier story about how an elementary school invited kids to “Stop Bullying in Its Tracks” with Dennis the Menace. (You can learn more about this book and find other helpful resources in our bookstore.)
We also work with the Michigan State University School of Journalism Bias Busters program, which has produced a whole series of books that help to reduce bigotry and end bullying. (Read the latest news about the Bias Busters’ in this new October 2016 story.)
PUBLIC RESOURCES YOU CAN SHARE
Government agencies now have come on board to help parents, educators and anyone who cares about the welfare of children. Here are three valuable links:
STOP BULLYING.GOV—The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services runs the www.StopBullying.gov website. In addition to October 19 Unity Day, this website is a clearinghouse of lots of other special programs running during October. There’s a five-day period devoted to LGBT youth, a similar period set aside to focus on American Indian youth, and even a Twitter Town Hall on October 20 with experts from the Centers for Disease Control answering questions.
PROFESSIONAL INFORMATION—The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) also is sponsored by divisions of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—along with UCLA and Duke University. The NCTSN’s bullying-awareness web page has very useful links for: families, teens and tweens, educators, clinicians and mental health professionals, law enforcement personnel and policy makers.