October is National Bullying Prevention Month, the goal of which is to encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on children of all ages. Bullying can take many forms, including physical, verbal, non-verbal and electronically – known as cyber-bullying; and bullying has devastating effects including an immediate and lifelong impact on resiliency, mental and physical health.
Approximately 30 percent of students in the U.S. are involved in bullying on a regular basis, either as a victim, bully or both. Bullying directly affects a student’s ability to learn. Students who are bullied find it difficult to concentrate, show a decline in grades, and lose self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-worth.
The 2013-2014 California Healthy Kids Survey of Marin County students found 37% of 7th and 9th graders and 34% of 11th graders reported having been bullied or harassed in the past year.
Students can be especially effective in bullying intervention. More than 55 percent of bullying situations will stop when a peer intervenes. Student education of how to address bullying for peers is critical, as is the support of adults. Silence is no longer an acceptable response to bullying. Adults, students, and educators can no longer look away when they see bullying. Ignoring it won’t work. Everyone needs to be empowered with options to respond.
Novato Unified School District works in collaboration with community partners including North Bay Security Group, Healthy Novato Initiative Partners, and the Novato Blue Ribbon Coalition to educate the community about bullying through outreach activities including training on cyberbullying and internet safety to parents, students, and staff.
Novato Unified School District supports efforts to call attention to the issue of bullying and cyberbullying and encourages schools, parents, youth, governmental agencies and the private sector to support efforts to reduce and prevent bullying in our communities, so that every child feels valued, safe and supported.
Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is involved in bullying, please contact your child’s teacher, counselor or principal. NUSD has an Anti-Bullying and School Climate webpage where you can find NUSD’s Board Policy on Bullying-Harassment Policy (BP 5131.2). Should you need it, a complaint form can be found here. NUSD takes bullying seriously and want all our students to feel safe at school.