Bullying Awareness Month Kicks Off
Started in 2006 by PACER's National Center for Bullying Prevention but expanded in 2010 following a disturbing string of suicides amongst LGBTQ youth, NBPM seeks to address the many issues facing students who are victims of bullying, especially those who identify as gay, bisexual or transgender.
This year, an influential survey of 10,000 LGBTQ students by the Human Rights Campaign discovered that there are a multitude of challenges faced by LGBTQ students at unexpected levels. Some of the findings:
- 54% of LGBTQ youth claim verbal harassment
- 28% of LGBTQ youth have been assaulted
- 58% of LGBTQ were excluded from various activities for being different
- 47% of LGBTQ youth feel they "do not fit into" their community
- 37% of LGBTQ youth describe themselves as happy; their non-LGBTQ counterparts are at 67% comparably
- Elected leaders, community leaders, and religious leaders rank amongst the lowest as whom/where LGBTQ youth hear positive messages; the internet, peers, and film/music/TV were ranked the highest
“Community leaders, parents, and teachers must take the lead in setting appropriate standards," stated Councilmember Gary DeLong. "Bullying in any form should not be tolerated."
On October 5th, what is being recognized as National Safe Schools Day and was founded by Safe Schools Action Network, are organizing a Twitter Town Hall (#BullyFreeDC). Official participants include stopbullying.gov, GLSEN, TrevorProject, Safe Schools Action Network and the D.C. Government Office of Human Rights and the PACER Center.
Back in July, local efforts to curb bullying were headed by Vice Mayor Garcia—in a motion co-sponsored by Councilmembers Schipske, Johnson, and Neal—who directed the City Manager to work with the Human Relations Commission to craft an anti-bullying policy based on those of the Long Beach Unified School District.
"We must continue to do everything we can to protect our youth from bullying in our schools, youth programs, and online," Garcia told the Post. "The city is hard at work on a comprehensive anti-bullying policy for our after school and parks programs."
NOTE: This article originally stated that the Twitter Town Hall was to have experts from the HRC and PACER; the correct information has been posted.