According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, more than one out of every five students reports being bullied at school. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), students who experience bullying are at an increased risk for poor school adjustments, sleep difficulties, anxiety, and depression. Even kids who do the bullying are at a higher risk for suicide than the rest of their peers. All around, it’s time to bring bullying to an end. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, which means now is the time that we can all do something about these statistics. The first step in preventing bullying is educating ourselves on why it happens, how to notice it, and what to do to help prevent it. Start with these publications from the GPO Online Bookstore.
Preventing Violent Extremism in Schools from the FBI covers the specific demographic and criteria factors that can draw at-risk students to violent extremism and aggressive forms of behavior, such as bullying, or engagement with gangs. It’s a great guide for school principals, teachers, guidance counselors, administrators, and educational policy makers to learn more about how youth might be susceptible to violent extremist ideologies or possible recruitment. For example, the report explains that violent extremism in mainstream culture can be aligned with technological advances. It notes that youth who feel alienated can be tempted easily via social media, online chatrooms, and even online gaming. Physical contact with extremist organizations has diminished over time. Now, the internet serves as a primary catalyst to sustain radicalized beliefs. The report also covers “leakage,” which refers to a common warning behavior of students advocating violence. According to the report, “leakage occurs when a student intentionally or unintentionally reveals clues to feelings, thoughts, fantasies, attitudes, or intentions that signal an impending act.” They might come in the form of threats, boasts, or ultimatums from a student. Read the entire guide to learn how you can help at-risk youth. You’ll also learn about who you should contact and at what point you should contact them in case you notice students exhibiting at-risk behaviors or communications.
A Comprehensive Technical Package for the Prevention of Youth Violence and Associated Risk Behaviors from the Department of Health and Human Services and the CDC is a helpful publication for parents, students, community youth centers, and first responders. This publication covers research on youth violence and strategies for preventing it. Some of these strategies include early childhood home visitation, parenting skill and family relationship programs, and mentoring programs such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of America. According to the report, mentored youth were 32% less likely to have engaged in a physical fight at an 18 month follow-up. Learn more about preventing youth violence with the important research outlined in this package.
Did you know that both victims and perpetrators of bullying are at higher risk of suicide than their peers? Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools, which offers strategies to prevent suicide and promote behavioral health among students, is helpful for both schools and parents. The toolkit notes that suicide is the third leading cause of death amongst teenagers. According to the report, many activities designed to prevent violence, bullying, and the abuse of alcohol and other drugs may also reduce suicide risk among students. The toolkit includes a suicide and bullying information sheet, as well as, an information sheet about the relationship among culture and suicide. According to the toolkit,
“Culture plays a large role in determining who (if anyone) young people turn to for emotional support. Young people from some cultures may prefer to consult family members or religious leaders rather than mental health professionals or other ‘outsiders.’ Other cultures may value self-reliance and regard any help-seeking (even within the family) as a weakness.” Schools should also consult this toolkit for a checklist of suicide prevention activities, including developing a written protocol for helping students at risk, training staff on prevention efforts, and more. Does your school have these plans in place?
As these publications all bring to light, bullying can be prevented. Knowledge is power! Know who is at risk for bullying and being bullied. Know the signs for how to recognize bullying. And know what to do to stop it from happening. Each of us has a part to play in keeping our youth safe in school and our communities!
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About the author: Blogger contributor Cat Goergen is the PR Specialist in GPO’s Public Relations office.