Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Bullying awareness week

Welcome to Bullying Awareness Week !

Bullying Awareness Week 2009 Media Release

The idea for a Bullying Awareness Week began with Canadian father and educator Bill Belsey. Not not long after he launched the educational Web site www.bullying.org on February 16, 2000, he was often asked to make presentations about bullying to media and in schools and communities across Canada and around the world. Through the Web site and his travels, he quickly realized that bullying was an issue that touches all people, directly or indirectly, regardless of their age, gender, culture, religion or nationality. He also dreamed of a world where bullying was no longer seen as a "Normal part of growing up", and that prevention through education and awareness was the key. He realized most people do want to "See something done" about bullying.

Bullying Awareness Week is now spreading to other countries around the world. www.bullyingawarenessweek.org is the "mother ship" for this movement and will endeavour to share these international initiatives as they develop with resources in other languages as they are produced. Check www.bullyingawarenessweek.org for updates.

Bullying Awareness Week is an opportunity for people at the grassroots level in communities around the world to get involved in this issue, not by waiting for "Someone else" to do something, but rather for us to work together on preventing bullying in our communities through education and awareness.

Take the theme and make it your own in your community.

Some people think that we shouldn't use the words "bully" or "bullying" out of fear that it will encourage some to engage in this behaviour. Cleary, discussions about bullying need to be put in the broader context of looking at what can be done to promote, develop and support healthy relationships, but you can't have a "Fire Prevention Week" (A very important initiative too) without talking about fire.

Research has shown us that approximately 15% of a given population in a school or workplace are directly involved with bullying, that leaves 85% as potential bystanders or silent majority. This group is the primary focus and target audience for Bullying Awareness Week. The week also has youth as a primary focus, as they are the ones who can "Be the change", and grow up thinking differently about bullying unlike many in previous generations who have attitudes about bullying as a "Rite of passage" or even that "Being bullied is good for you, it toughens you up."

The vision behind Bullying Awareness Week:

* Bullying Awareness Week is about working at preventing bullying through education and awareness

* Bullying Awareness Week is NOT about what others could or should be doing, but rather what WE can do!

* Bullying is a community issue. Schools are a critically important part of the solution, but bullying should not be defined solely as a "school problem".

* Addressing bullying is best done with a wholistic, community approach because bullying is a community health and wellness issue.

* Everyone can play a role in addressing bullying in their community.

* Bullying also needs to be understood as a health issue. The impact of bullying on personal health and wellness can last a lifetime. This also financial implications for our society with lessened productivity, lost manhours due to illness or personal days off work.

* Bullying is a serious issue, at it's worst, bullying can kill.

Regardless of the activities you choose to participate in at the local level, these are the key messages that every Bullying Awareness Week wll focus on:

* Bullying is wrong and harmful

* Bullying is a relationship problem (Bullying cannot be addressed with "simple" solutions. Bullying requires relationship strategies that encourage respect and empathy for others)

* Bullying is a community issue, we all need to play a part in addressing it (Get your community involved with Bullying Awareness Week plans and activities)

* Youth involvement and leadership is very important

* Challenging and supporting potential bystanders or "silent majority" to not accept bullying behaviours as a behavioural norm

* Everyone has the right to be respected and the responsibility to respect others, in person and online!

We may never completely eliminate bullying from society, but it is a fight worth fighting. In recent years we have seen major positive changes in societal attitudes and actions with respect to things like smoking, drinking and driving and recycling, these are all behaviours and they are beginning to change for the better. Bullying is also a behaviour, and as an issue it is today where these other issues were years ago before the public embraced the notion of change. Bullying Awareness Week is all about an invitation for you and your community to "Be the change!"

Please remember these quotes to help guide the efforts in your community:

"Be the change you want to see in the world." -Mahatma Gandhi

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, determined citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead.

If you share this vision, thank you! Together we can begin to move the mountain! -BB

Note: Bullying Awareness Week is a joint declaration of Bullying.org and Family Channel, a national children, youth and family television network. Since its inception in November 2003, Bullying Awareness Week has grown in support and is increasingly recognized by schools, individuals, organizations and communities as a time to celebrate and promote solutions to the problems of bullying.

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