I recently read that 22% of students ages 12-18 were bullied during the 2012-2013 school year. Students who are bullied also tend to have higher rates of depression and anxiety, not to mention a decreased academic achievement. Not cool.
Growing up I saw my share of bullying and was even a few times bullied. My bus ride home sometimes felt like the worst thing ever. Over the past few months, bullying has come up in general conversations I've had with teens at the library. They have had to deal with it personally or know others who have.
As a community, we can work together to address and prevent bullying. October is National Bullying Prevention Month to encourageseveryone to take an active role to understand what bullying is and to prevent bullying, not only this month but throughout the entire year. It's up to all of us to take action, including teens. Think about what you can do in your school and in your community to be part of the solution. Give someone a compliment, create a short film that addresses the issue (hint, hint we are taking submissions for our Five Minute Film Festival), and most importantly find an adult you trust to talk to if you see bullying happen or experience it yourself.
At the Main Library we have a display in our teen area this month featuring books that deal with this topic, both fictional and real accounts. Here are a list of books and resources.
If you or someone you know is dealing with, has witnessed bullying, or needs help, here are some other resources that may help.
Erase Meaness: A local organization whose mission states: We believe that every child deserves a life without meanness. While meanness may never be totally eliminated, that doesn't mean we'll stop trying. They are hosting a free community screening of the documentary film Reject, October 20. Check out their event page for more details.
STOMP Out Bullying: A national anti-bullying and cyberbullying organization for kids and teens in the U.S
The Trevor Project: A national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.
StopBullying.gov: Provides information from various government agencies on what bullying is, what cyberbullying is, who is at risk, and how you can prevent and respond to bullying.
Youth Service Bureau of St. Joseph County: Have you seen the yellow Safe Place signs around town? This is the organization runs the Safe Place. The YSB is a community-based, non-profit 501(c)3, committed to preserving and strengthening families and protecting children at. YSB also provides emergency shelter, street level outreach, counseling and development services for primary and intermediate schools, and support and guidance for young mothers. Our goal is to provide a safety net to youth and families, helping them move from surviving to thriving. All of YSB services are free and confidential.
This summer, I asked for teens to write random notes of kindness for others and I got so many positive responses. This gives me high hopes that we can all be kind to each other! Keep being awesome everyone!