Today, US Congressman Michael Honda, founder and chair of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus, issued the following statement in support of National Bullying Prevention Month:
Nearly one-third of all school-aged children are bullied each year - upwards of 13 million students. To help educate the nation about the issue, the Minnesota-based PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center founded National Bullying Prevention Month in October 2006, a time when communities are urged to take action. Today marks the first day of the 7th Annual National Bullying Prevention Month; a day to reflect on our past year, share our stories, and go forward with stronger tools than when we began.
We now understand that bullying is not confined to classroom walls. As an educator of more than thirty years and a member of Congress who was bullied as a child, I am personally committed to addressing the agelessness of bullying and do my part. That's why I founded the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus. With over 50 Members of Congress, the bi-partisan Caucus is a forum for individuals and advocates from private sector organizations and non-profit agencies, educators, students, and everyday individuals to proactively address issues of bullying.
As legislators and national organizations, we have had our share of successes. President Obama announced his public support for the Safe Schools Improvement Act of 2011 and the Student Non-Discrimination Act of 2011, two bills that would provide needed support, assessment, and follow through for many bullied youth. This year's Third Annual Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention Summit which brought together over 170 youth, national organizations, educators and federal officials, also closely examined our individual role in bullying: standing up and speaking out. We have shifted our idea of bullying as "kids being kids," to understanding the concrete repercussions that bullying has on both the bully and bullied. The Administration, its agencies and notable partners such as PACER Center have thus presented a call to action: being an active bystander -- an upstander -- to young people and adults all over the nation.
Lastly, this is the month to tell your story. I encourage those who have bullied or been bullied, and their families, to share their stories. Without bringing our stories to light, without developing these conversations and personal connections, we risk compromising our cause. Bullying affects everyone; we appreciate your struggles and admire your courage to stand up and speak out.
The following resources promote techniques to create a positive climate in our nation's schools, school buses and communities where all students are safe and respected. Bullying is not confined to one region or one identity, and these toolkits emphasize the value of involvement of all individuals, including media, businesses, health and safety experts, and community leaders.
PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center free web-based tools were used by 1.4 million people in nearly 200 countries last year to plan events, activities, outreach and educational initiatives. Resources are available at PACER.org/bullying/resources: PACERTeensAgainstBullying.org for teens; PACERKidsAgainstBullying.org for elementary school students, and PACER.org/Bullying for parents, teachers, and other adults.
The Federal Partners in Bullying Prevention toolkits also utilize approaches that are critical to preventing and addressing bullying behavior, and allow leaders to mold the toolkits per their constituencies. The resources available can be found on the http://safesupportiveschools.ed.gov site, and http://www.stopbullying.gov/: School Bus Drivers' Training, the newly launched Classroom Teacher Training, the Youth Leaders' Toolkit , and Community Action Toolkit.
With school districts in full-fledge, I encourage you to take advantage of the following resources to engage youth, parents, educators, and communities, as we continue to work together to address the problem of bullying. Communities across the county can take action today, this month and beyond -- to make it known that youth who bully and are bullied have support available.