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Charity Spotlight: The National Bullying Prevention Center

By on October 14, 2014

PACER staff_100913High school and the teenage years are supposed to be fun and exciting, filled with school dances, football games and the exhilarating anticipation of the future ahead. But not everyone has those pleasant experiences. Nearly 1 in 3 (27.8%) of students are bullied during the school year, according to the National Center for Educational Statistics. Bullying has become not only a social issue, but a health issue as well. According to the Center for Disease Control, “students who experience bullying are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, sleep difficulties, and poor school adjustment.”

PACER, an organization originally dedicated to providing resources to parents with disabled children, started the National Bullying Prevention Center in 2006. The center was started because students with disabilities are bullied 2-3 times more than their non-disabled peers. However, the center caters to all students.

Julie, GiantOriginally designed to have a week-long event for the first week in October, the program evolved into a month-long effort to bring awareness and educate communities about the negative effects of bullying because there was increased interest from teachers to participate in more activities.

The National Bullying and Prevention Center  partnered with Disney, ABC Family and Facebook last year to spread awareness and distribute resources, and will be working with the NBPC in similar capacities this year.

The center has started a new program called the We Will Generation, a student-led movement that seeks to empower students to address bullying in their schools and communities. Since more than half of bullying situations (57%) end when a peer intervenes, PACER is appealing to students to get involved with the anti-bullying movement. “Beyond the curriculum, the WE WILL Generation includes stand-alone activities and a social media campaign (posting photos of their commitments with #WeWillGen).

One day highlighted throughout the month is UNITY day, October 22, where schools, communities, and online participants come together to spread awareness.

There are a variety of ways people can participate in Unity Day. First, everyone is being encouraged to wear orange, from T-shirts, ties to socks and sneakers. Parents are educators are encouraged to create orange banners, titled “Unite Against Bullying,” for children at schools to sign. People can also participate in UNITY Day online by using #UnityDay2014 on social media, and also join and share the Unity Day Facebook event.  In the last two years, over 12,000 people joined and participated in the Facebook event.

“Teachers and parents can play a critical role in creating a climate where bullying is not tolerated,” said Paul F. Goldberg, executive director of PACER. “When adults and children stand together, bullying ends.”

You can get involved by:

Registering your school or organization as a Champion Against Bullying at pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/partners/champions.asp

Signing a digital copy of “The End of Bullying Begins With Me” petition at pacer.org/bullying/digitalpetition

Signing up to receive the Bullying Prevention Newsletter at pacer.org/bullying/newsletter/opt-in.asp

For more information about bullying and The National Bullying Prevention Center, visit pacer.org/bullying

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