Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week takes place during the week of November 20-26, 2016. During this time students, staff, parents, and the community are encouraged to learn more about bullying and what they can do to prevent such occurrences.
Bullying is repeated, persistent, aggressive behavior directed at an individual or individuals. Such behaviour is intended to cause (or known to cause) fear and distress and/or harm to another person’s body, feelings, self-esteem, or reputation. Bullying occurs in a context where there is a real or perceived power imbalance (the Ontario Education Act, 18.104.22.168).
Bullying can take on several forms of abuse, including:
- Physical – Hitting, shoving, stealing, or damaging property.
- Verbal – Name-calling, mocking, or making sexist, racist, or homophobic comments.
- Social – Excluding others from a group or spreading gossip or rumours about them.
- Electronic (cyber-bullying) – Spreading rumours and hurtful comments through the use of email, cell phones, social media websites, and text messaging.
Bullying can cause victims to suffer many negative outcomes, some of them long-term. Such outcomes may include mental health problems, physical and emotional harm, difficulties in academics, and much more. Such serious outcomes can all be avoided by preventing bullying.
How can you prevent bullying? One of the best ways to do so is by promoting an inclusive environment that is based on respect. By including all individuals in events, games, and other activities, you remove the opportunity for bullies to utilize exclusivity in a harmful way. By choosing respect as a core value, you work to prevent any opportunity for bullying to occur.
If you see bullying happening, how can you help? Stand up for the individual being bullied by talking to the bully, if it is safe to do so. Ask the person who is doing the bullying why he or she is being hurtful. Be kind to the individual being bullied by including that person. Tell someone you trust about the situation and ask for that person’s help. If you’re unsure how to stop a bullying situation, a counselor at Kids Help Phone (1-800-668-6868) can help you brainstorm ways to intervene. Kids Help Phone is also an extremely valuable resource for those who require personal counselling. If you are a victim of bullying, remember that you are not alone. Individuals and organizations are always ready and willing to help you.
Share this information with your friends and family. Together, we can stop bullying!