Stories about: anti-bullying legislation

Ask the expert: How to prevent and respond to bullying


October is National Bullying Prevention Month. It brings a flood of anti-bullying postings on social media, as well as anti-bullying banners and signs in schools and the community.

National Bullying Prevention Month reminds us bullying is common; one out of four students report they were bullied during the last school year. Bullying involves a difference in social or physical power between the child who is doing the bullying and the child being bullied; it can be verbal, physical or emotional bullying and is often a pattern of behavior.

The increased awareness that comes with Bullying Prevention Month can encourage schools and communities to develop programs to promote an anti-bullying culture. In today’s world, bullying is rightfully treated as serious business — there are increased efforts to encourage bullying to be reported and anti-bullying laws to prevent and address bullying when it occurs.

Bullying prevention efforts can have a number of different focuses, such as campaigns to turn children from “bystanders to upstanders” or encouraging children to “Shake it off” as in the Taylor Swift song. But what can parents do to prevent bullying, and what can they do if their child is being bullied?

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Children’s helps school take a stand against bullying

If your child were being bullied, would you know about it? Most of us would like to believe that if our kids were being targeted at school they’d tell us right away, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. Data shows that many bullying victims fail to report their harassment. This could be for any number of reasons, but in many cases the victim stays silent because he’s scared that telling someone will make the bullying worse, is embarrassed about being picked on or thinks the adults in his life can’t do anything to stop it.

It’s a difficult cycle to break, but it’s not impossible. To help, Children’s Hospital Boston has teamed up with teachers, administrators and students in one Boston school to empower kids to take a stand against bullying.

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In her own words: middle school's no walk in the park

Thea1Thanks to anti-bullying legislation signed into law yesterday by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, schools may soon be safer for kids. Parents and law makers are lauding the new bill. But how do kids feel about bullying and the recent attention the issue is receiving? Do they believe bullies (and responsible third parties) deserve harsher penalties? According to Thea Hickey, a 13 year old from Southborough, MA, yes.

Here, she writes about the trials and tribulations of middle school, and what it’s really like to be bullied.

Picture yourself as a teenager again. It’s that tender and delicate time in our lives when we’re most vulnerable to criticism, when we’re trying to figure out who we are and what we’d like to become as adults. You’re walking down the halls to your next period with your books tightly clutched to your body. What do you see? Friends getting along and students coming together as a happy community? If you do, I’d really love to go to your middle school.

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