By: Renee Ruffin-Price
To: AL DIA TODAY
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, which was founded by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center in 2006. Throughout the month, school-based and community activities are held to highlight the importance of preventing childhood bullying while promoting kindness, acceptance, and inclusion. Because many students have recently returned to school, this is a good opportunity to remind grandparents, parents, and guardians to have family discussions about the support individuals who have autism or other disabilities will sometimes need because they are at higher risk of repeatedly being taunted, mocked, teased, and harassed.
Any child who is targeted may become depressed, feel isolated or develop low self-esteem, which can directly impact their education. According to the National Bullying Prevention Center’s Bullying and Harassment of Students with Disabilities resource sheet, there can be a decrease in their ability to concentrate, a decrease in their grades and higher rates of absenteeism. The social and communication difficulties many children experience may cause them to appear vulnerable and adds another layer of challenges these children must navigate. UPSTANDERS, are peers who have learned how to provide support to a child who is being targeted in person or via social media. Across the country, elementary and secondary school students will unite on WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 19, 2022, by wearing ORANGE to show unity for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion and to send a visible message that no child should ever experience bullying. Free school and community resources (downloadable materials and videos) are available at https://www.pacer.org/bullying/, https://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/show-your-support.asp and at https://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/unity-day.asp .
Article submitted to Al Dia Today on September 26, 2022 by Renee’ Ruffin-Price, Community Advocate for Children