Unite Against Teen Bullying: Why Orange is Your Color
According to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, one out of every three students will experience bullying every year. PACER is a national non-profit based in Minnesota that delivers education and resources to the national community in order to prevent and respond to bullying. The center works with parents, teachers, and professionals to create a safe academic and social life for teens and children.
Their campaign, Choose Orange, encourages anyone interested in preventing bullying to buy and wear an orange band, indicating their choice and support to stop bullying. The proceeds from orange band purchases go towards supporting the campaign. PACER hopes that Choose Orange brings social change by “banding” together groups of supporters who want to put an end to teen bullying.
However, purchasing an orange band is not the only way to stop bullying. Educating students, parents, and teachers is an essential ingredient to ending bullying in communities. For instance, PACER makes clear that there are three distinct individuals involved when bullying happens: the bully, the target, and the bystander.
The bully often expresses aggression because he or she feels jealous, insecure, out of control, or simply, not good enough. Sure, a bully isn’t going to admit this, but by bringing this to the attention of parents, teachers, and peers, perhaps a safe conversation with someone who bullies can take place in order to address these concerns. Perhaps safely discussing the reasons behind a teen’s aggression can curtail displays aggression in the first place.
The target is the recipient of a bully’s aggression. Often, the target feels as though he deserves the harsh treatment, that it’s her fault, or feels powerless. Teaching him or her to take back control in order to stop the bullying can at times be effective. However, it’s important to note that a target does not need to fight a bullying classmate on his or her own. Instead, a teen target can seek the assistance of parents, peers, or teachers. A target should share as much as possible about the bullying and, ideally, develop an action plan with an adult. Furthermore, it’s important to know that there local, state, and federal laws that can facilitate a teen’s safety.
Finally, the role of the bystander is also important. Although there is a strong pull for a bystander to sit back and do nothing, he or she can play a significant role in putting an end to the bullying. It’s tempting for a teen to want to stay out of it and to avoid any trouble. Yet, there are safe steps a bystander can take while remaining anonymous, if that’s what he or she wants. Just like the target, a bystander can talk to an adult. If anonymity is desired, a bystander can talk to a school counselor in order keep a conversation confidential. Depending on the level of involvement, a bystander might also want to help create an action plan for the target’s safety and even the safety of others.
Bullying continues to be a severe problem within schools across the United States. PACER’s Choose Orange campaign is a way to facilitate safety in your community.
– By Robert Hunt
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