Thousands of people are wearing blue shirts to wipe out the most minimized and persistent problems in our schools today.
Rachel Sarah: When I first heard that NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg had proclaimed October 5th "BLUE SHIRT DAY" for National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week (October 4-10), I chuckled.
Not to sound so skeptical, but imagining thousands of kids and adults wearing blue shirts as they made their way to school or to the office to "Stomp Out Bullying" ... was this a bit overstated? Would it make any difference?
Hours later, however, I was on the phone with Ross Ellis -- who founded Love Our Children USA in 1999. After our conversation, my understanding of what bullying means has completely changed.
Bullying is when someone keeps doing or saying things to have power over another person. "It's all learned behavior, and it comes from the home," says Ellis. A child's parents might not be violent, per se, but every child learns from his/her parent how to handle conflict.
Having grown up in a home with a "rage-oholic father," Ellis clearly empathizes with children who have experienced name-calling, threats, or feeling left out or scared. Children and parents regularly contact her for help.
Even Demi Lovato is talking openly about her own experiences of being bullied to spread the word.
Bullying has many descriptions. It might be physical: hitting, biting, pinching, pulling hair, tripping. It might be verbal: teasing, calling names, spreading rumors. It might be sexual: touching inappropriately, snapping girls' bra straps, staring. It might be cyber: setting up fake profiles or writing abusive things on Facebook or MySpace pages.
According to Stomp Out Bullying, "Bullying is one of the most minimized and persistent problems in our schools today. The sad thing is -- it's a reality for all children, whether they're victims, witnesses, or they're the bullies."
Fortunately, Ellis says that "whatever is learned can be unlearned."
Her personal experiences have proven children can learn to practice kindness, compassion, and respect. "It's up to the parents and the kids! But it's also up to the schools," Ellis says. "The schools have to stop sweeping this under the rug."
Tell us: Have your kids ever been bullied? Or, has your own child been a bully?
|Rachel Sarah, a.k.a. "Single Mom Seeking" blogs at SingleMomSeeking.com and co-founded SingleMommyHood.com, the first-ever website to offer "a whole new way to think about life."|