October is National Bullying Prevention Month
Bullying is a hot topic in schools nowadays.
I’m not just talking about students bullying other students. Students bully teachers and other adults in authority—remember the YouTube video of the middle-schoolers in New York who badgered a 68-year-old bus monitor until she cried? And the opposite is also true, in cases where teachers and other adults go beyond discipline and become bullies themselves. And adults, whether in schools or in other workplaces, can also be guilty of bullying their subordinates, coworkers, or supervisors.
We often have a certain picture of bullies—big and mean and scary. But bullies can also be the popular kids or the jocks or any other clique who gains their power by belittling others. When my older son, Alex, was in middle school, I remember how upset he got when a group of nice, smart, popular kids on his bus picked on the boy with Tourette’s syndrome until he lost control. The boy was suspended from riding the bus. This happened several times, and one day Alex decided not to be a bystander. He told the bus driver what was happening, and that the bullies should be thrown off the bus instead. The bus driver’s response: Shut up or I’ll kick you off the bus, too. I’m still ashamed that, when Alex told me what happened, I decided to be a bystander myself.
Today is the beginning of National Bullying Prevention Month, founded by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in 2006. You can buy the T-shirt above at their website. PACER also has a site geared for kids and teens. And to observe this month, Mackin Books in Bloom will be using several of our posts to highlight literature that can help your students and children learn about how bullying hurts others and what they can do to prevent it.
We’ve created some lists of books that can be used in discussing bullying. Bullying, Teasing, & Harassment includes titles meant for kids, including easy, fiction, and nonfiction, while professional titles are on Professional Bullying Prevention. And continue to check back the rest of the month for reviews on specific titles that we recommend.