October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. While having an awareness month is nice, bullying is nothing new, and needs attention year round.
Have you ever been bullied? I have. I remember on the sixth-grade playground being picked on daily by one person; I still remember her name, still remember how it felt. To this day I will not approve that person’s friend request on Facebook.
Have you ever been the bully? I have. I remember in seventh grade as I was getting a little more confidence, I decided it was alright to do what had happened to me just one year earlier to another girl. I saw her several years ago at a 4th of July event, believe me there was no nod of acknowledgement, no attempt to reconnect, not even a hello.
Here we were years later, sitting as adults, and I felt guilty and I knew she still despised me.
The point of my little childhood recount is that bullying is serious, even if it’s some “lighthearted” ribbing on the playground. Those mean words, and hurtful actions stick with you forever.
Now, we are in the days of major technological advances where we can get news immediately, and at the same time deliver an entirely new kind of bullying to a victim who really doesn’t deserve it.
We’ve had kids commit suicide over things that were posted on Facebook or some other social media outlet.
Photos, illustrations, letters, and words can hit thousands in minutes. At one time, it may have taken a day or two for a rumor to spread to an entire school. Today, it takes only minutes.
Many organizations have been established to tackle this issue, but at the same time it still continues.
I am one of those who realize that to some degree it’s in our nature. Some form of bullying seems to happen to everyone at some point in our lives.
However, the worry is how vicious bullying has become over the years. Look at the movie “Mean Girls.” You’re delusional if you think that’s just a fictional movie. Girls can be that mean, and in many schools, are.
When it comes to bullying, the bottom line is it can’t just be teachers and school administration fighting the problem.
We as parents have to set the example at home. With a teenager who was picked on a lot in early high school, and a younger child who appears to be doing well socially and could potentially become one of those “Mean Girls,” we work hard to stress the importance of considering not only someone’s feelings, but also what the results of your actions can mean to someone else.
I am glad to see that the Marana School District is diving into Nationally Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.
They kicked off prevention and education efforts on Monday, and will continue with several programs throughout the month of October.
Various schools throughout the month will be hosting assemblies to educate, students will be wearing blue ribbons, and raising awareness has become the ultimate goal.
While the Marana School District has already gotten efforts under way, through the month of October I challenge all of you to do something toward decreasing bullying all over, and not just in our schools.
(Editor’s Note: Last week, I wrote about my husband’s problems with DIRECTV and my issues with bad customer service. In that, I called for you to share your stories, which quite a few of you did. Please see some of the stories of bad customer service online at firstname.lastname@example.org