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October is National Bullying Month

October is National Bullying month. Now is a good time as any to zero in on this topic for good reason. The number of bullying stories making headlines and being discussed on social media sites seems to have increased exponentially. The incidents are brutal and have led to maiming of victims, suicides or death.

Consider these heartwrenching bullying stories that took place in Georgia:

One can never forget one of the most infamous and disturbing cases of sanctioned bullying: the hazing of Florida A&M marching band drum major Robert Champion on a school bus nearly two years ago. Champion died of internal bleeding on the bus. The students involved were charged with manslaughter. Champion's parents have now become crusaders against hazing and bullying, speaking at forums and founding the Robert D. Champion Drum Major for Change Foundation Inc.

What Causes Bullying?

I wonder what is causing school kids to be so brazenly cruel to each other. Is it lack of manners and decorum being taught at home? Is it not caring about the consequences? Is it a total disregard for a human being’s life and feelings? Is it an inability to resolve conflicts?

Just thinking about the answers makes me sad.

As a teacher you are on the frontlines of the bullying battle. You witness it in your classrooms. You are given workshops and seminars to learn how to deal with it. At times, you are even oblivious to it.

Tell us how are you dealing with it? What lessons can you share?

What You Can Do

Teachers are also lifelong learners. There is always more to be learned about a topic. For National Bullying month PBS Learning Media has put together a special section on bullying, discrimination and hate crimes for multiple age groups for you to use to educate students and yourselves on how to handle and cope with bullying.

Bullying behavior starts when kids are very young. There are several lessons for the Pre-K crowd within it. For older students, the lessons feature the iconic Class Divided experiment covered in a Frontline piece. That is the brown eye/blue eye experiment conducted by teacher Jane Elliot to teach students about racism and discrimination.

The 21st century brings with it other bullying challenges - cyberbullying and bullying for sexual orientation. These situations are also covered. One of the sections highlights the documentary Not in Our Town about a community standing together to take action after a hate crime killing devastates their area.

With regard to cyberbullying you can always rely on our Cyberbullying and safety video and training series.

The Georgia Department of Education also has a Bullying Prevention Toolkit.

While NPR has an article on a program that teaches kids who witness bullying how not to be passive bystanders.

Bullying seems to be the new social scourge of our time. But if as a “village” we work together to change the behavior that causes it, perhaps we can stamp it out.

How is your school taking a stand against bullying? Share your stories here too.