October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying in the world of today may share some commonalities with what was bullying in the past, but it also has elements that can potentially make it much more difficult to identify at the surface level. Depending on the generation you identify with, you may perceive bullying quite differently from what it now encompasses. Currently, bullying can be broken down into four different categories. These categories include verbal, social, physical, and cyber-bullying.
In the September issue of Sixes Living, Cherokee County School District Police Department Chief Mark E. Kissel helped to identify the top five bullying issues. These include:
Being subjected to rumors
Being made fun of, called names, or insulted
Pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on
Excluded from activities on purpose
These five current issues encompass all four types of bullying, and they are present in schools across the country. The key to helping prevent bullying is awareness on behalf of all that may potentially be aware. Students, parents, educators, and all stakeholders need to understand just how powerful words and actions can be and what potential consequences may be.
The Code of Conduct provided by the Cherokee County School Board defines bullying as:
- Any (pattern of) willful attempts or threats to inflict injury on another person, when accompanied by an apparent present ability to do so;
- Any intentional display of force such as that which would give the victim reason to fear or expect immediate bodily harm; or,
- Any intentional written, verbal or physical acts, which a reasonable person would perceive as being intended to threaten, harass or intimidate. Such acts could include causing the following:
- a. physical or visible bodily harm;
- b. substantial damage to property;
- c. disruption of school;
- d. interference with one’s education or is so severe/persistent/pervasive that it creates an intimidating or threatening educational environment.
With bullying clearly defined, knowledge is only half the battle. It is important that conversations take place at home and at school regarding prevention. Stomp Out Bullying offers great resources regarding these conversations and possible activities to help encourage the prevention of bullying.