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Letter to the Editor (INH)


To the Editor:

October is National

Bullying Prevention Month

October 19 is Unity Day

Children are bullied for things such as being overweight or underweight, wearing glasses or different clothing, being new to a school or may be less popular than others and have less friends. They are often being perceived as weak or unable to defend themselves. They are usually depressed, anxious, have low self-esteem, health problems, suicidal thoughts, poor grades, and are more likely to miss or skip school.

We often talk about how bullying effects children but who are the children that do the bullying? Children and teenagers who feel secure and supported by their family, school, and peers are less likely to bully. However, some youth do not have these types of support.

A youth who bullies may experience one, several or none of these contributing factors.

Peer factors: To attain or maintain social power or elevate their status in their peer group, to control the behavior of their peers or to show their allegiance to and fit in with their peer group, and they exclude others from their peer group, to show who is and is not part of the group.

Family factors: Children that come from families where there is bullying, aggression or violence at home, parents and caregivers do not provide emotional support or communication or they may come from families where the adults are overly lenient or there is low parental involvement in their lives.

Emotional factors: The bully themselves may have been bullied in the past or currently is being bullied, may be insecure and has low self-esteem so they bully to make themselves feel more powerful. Some do not know how to control their emotions or may not have skills for handling social situations in a healthy, positive way.

School factors: Schools where conduct problems and bullying are not properly addressed tend to have more issues of bullying. When bullying continues and a school does not take action, the school develops an environment of fear and students perceive that teachers and staff have little control and do not care about them.

Community members, school staff, students, parents, and youth, on October 19, plan to wear and share the color orange — as a tangible representation of the supportive, universal message that our society wants to prevent bullying, and is united for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

If you would like more information, please visit www.stopbullying.gov or feel free to contact Hands of Hope Resource Center. Our business hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or give us a call at 320-732-2319 or call our 24/7 hotline at 800-682-4547.

Kimberly Cook

Violence Prevention

Coordinator

Hands of Hope Resource Center

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