What does October mean to you?

Published 10:48 am Saturday, October 10, 2015

To some the month of October is about the fall season, especially Halloween. To others it is about breast cancer awareness. And to what seems to be the smallest group of people, it is about National Bullying Prevention Month.

Perhaps this is because not as many people are aware that this month is also dedicated to the prevention of bullying? National Bullying Prevention Month has only been recognized by the United States since 2006 and wasn’t expanded into this large campaign filled with awareness of bullying, education and activities until 2010. Or is it because many turn their head towards bullying and don’t want to think about it?

For a while, I thought it was the latter. Many people believe that someone else will do something to stop bullying or it will just go away — for a while I was one of them.

Bullying is real and it’s a big problem that is affecting children starting at younger and younger ages. Many of us don’t even realize how bad it is.

I hate to throw statistics into this, but when I was in college I wrote a paper and created a presentation on the statistics of bullying. From what I found out during my research, I think it’s necessary.

According to the Stomp Out Bullying Campaign website, one in every four students report being bullied during the school year. Those are just the ones that report it. One out of five kids report that they themselves have done some type of bullying before.

You’re probably thinking this is mostly middle school and high school kids, but playground statistics show that every seven minutes a child is bullied. The worst part is that only four percent of adults intervene; only 11 percent of peers intervene; and 85 percent of people don’t do anything about it when it happens.

But nowadays, kids don’t just have to worry about bullying in person. There is also this thing we’ve all heard about called cyberbullying. The campaign says that statistics for cyberbullying show 58 percent of kids admit to having something mean or hurtful said to them online and 53 percent of kids admit to having said something mean or hurtful online to someone else.

Contrary to my belief, I am starting to think that maybe people aren’t aware how bad bullying has become and maybe they don’t know that October is also dedicated to bullying prevention.

On Thursday when I was processing the schools news for the paper, I was happily surprised to see that Georgie D. Tyler Middle School was promoting National Bullying Prevention Month by having students wear blue and paint one of their fingernails blue. For those of you that don’t know, blue is the color that is associated with bullying prevention. It was so good to see that a local middle school had so many kids partaking in this wonderful campaign.

So if it doesn’t already, just add bullying prevention to the list of things that October means to you. I encourage all of you to talk to children and young adolescents about bullying, especially sometime this month. Schools, I encourage you, if you aren’t already, to incorporate some type of anti-bullying program, activity or campaign into your school agenda this month. It really could make a difference, and if you don’t believe me, just look at the statistics of what an intervention about bullying can do.

REBECCA CHAPPELL is a staff writer at The Tidewater News. She can be contacted at 562-3187 or rebecca.chappell@tidewaternews.com