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How to Stomp Out Bullying for Good

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Thousands of people are wearing blue shirts in an effort to wipe out the most minimized and persistent problem in our schools today.

Rachel Sarah: When I first heard that N.Y.C. Mayor Michael Bloomberg had proclaimed October 4th "Blue Shirt Day" in honor of National Bullying Prevention Awareness Week (October 3 to 9), I chuckled.

Stomp oout Bullying

Not to sound skeptical, but imagine thousands of kids and adults wearing blue "STOMP Out Bullying" shirts as they make their way to school or to the office .... Is this a bit overstated? Will 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 "rageaholic" 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 has spread the word bytalking openly about her own experiencesof being bullied.

Bullying has many forms. It might be physical (hitting, biting, pinching, pulling hair, tripping). It might be verbal (teasing, name-calling, 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, Twitter, etc.).

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 that children can learn to practice kindness, compassion and respect. "It's up to the parents and the kids!" she says. "But it's also up to the schools. 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?

next: Dad: Bus Bullies 'Turned My World Upside Down'
18 comments so far | Post a comment now
KS October 4, 2010, 12:52 PM

Actually bullying is one of the biggest problems in our society and the world at large.

If people would treat everyone with decency and respect at all times we would have no war, genocide, crime, rape, miscommunications escalating, road rage ect ect ect.

Children do what they see and what they can get away with. Children are just more out in the open and blatant with their bullying and abuse of one another.

Adults wrap it in snide remarks, dismissive attitudes and outright abuse of thier own children. Kids aren’t the problem here. Adults are.

If we want our children to be better we have to expect more from ourselves. That means when a political candidate is on the television don’t simply call him names and make inappropriate remarks. Speak about the issues you don’t agree with in a non aggressive way with your spouse or friends.

If you find yourself in a situation where things aren’t going your way react with kindness and patience. When you are mad at your spouse or your child treat them with as much respect as you expect from them.

Stop normalizing abusive and inappropriate behavior for your children and they will more than likely not exhibit inappropriate and abusive behavior.

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Mary October 5, 2010, 9:17 AM

All of the anti-bullying programs are well intentioned and I see their point, but who holds the schools accountable? What if the school itself doesn’t stick to their own rules?

My son’s school tells kids who are being bullied on the way home from school to “just walk home another way.” Huh? what if the parents specify for their child to walk that way? No matter what way a child walks they should be safe from bullies. They should not have to change their path to conform to a bully.

My daughter’s school recently had a guest speaker who has visited schools around the world to speak out against bullying. He actually WALKED OUT because the kids were that bad. They talked back, talked down to him, and one boy even walked up and yelled in his face. They blatantly bullied the man they invited in to speak against bullying & forced him to walk out, then sent out a newsletter showing a few pictures and said it was a great assembly. Again, huh?

The schools put on the show that they have these policies and don’t enforce them. The most you can do is try to teach your child how to treat others and hope that other parents are doing the same.

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Kathe Smith November 5, 2010, 6:43 AM

My son is 13 , and is constantly being teased at school,and the bus stop the principle is trying to get the kids t stop but most of the time the only witnesses are the kids that don’t like him and they don’t stick up for him so there isnt much he can do I understand he can only do so much but this is getting crazy he was in trouble at scholl today for foul language , actually towards my other son who was feeding the fire for him he does that to fit in and there is big sibling rivalry there we try to teach them to respect others as they wish to be , and to treat each other respectfully , they are broters and should be sticking up for each other . if they won’t who the heck will? , I try over and over to expalin this to them , but they both get teased for stuff and will do anything for it not to be himself , my 13 yr old who is gettting it so bad is adhd and has a compulsive disorder as well and the kids don;t understand and just don’t care in fact knowing seems to make them taunt him more , one boy’s father I have takled to say’s he teaches them not to bulliy he is emmbarrssed that his kid does that, but alot of it is at the bus stop , he dosn’t go to the one he is suposed to go to , becuase 2 boy’s pick on him there one was throwing candy corn at his neck so he goes to the other and they tease him there too he can’t seem to win for loosing and the bus garage won’t make those boy;s switch , ya know but all four boy’s at one bus stop so he has a safe place to wait, It would be very difficlut to take him because I have 2 smaller children, and they are often still assleep and get cranky if I have to wake them , I could wait at the bus stop but them what , and for how long do I have to baby sit my 13yr old and waht are they going to say to him on the bus or after school about his MOMMY taking him to the bus stop isn’t that just more amo for htses kids , I sure wish we could get someone these kids would respect to lecture about BULLYING , FOR THE FAT LOT OF GOOD IT WOULD PROBLY DO.I am divorced from his dad, but remarried , his dad lives in another state ,and I am considering letting him move with him so he can try a fresh start, but my husband say’s not until he moves back to this state , he knows waht being with out him would do to me but wiht his tmper and attitudes becuase of all this what is that doing to me and his siblings and more to the point , I would rather be miserable than have him be , but his little sisters would miss lie crazy too when he visits his dad once a month they miss him something awfull,when he got introuble today the school had me talk to both boy’s because tahts where the problem was at the time between them , but it steamed from the bus stop once again , he was crying and begging me to let him come home I felt so bad But he has a hard enough time with his grades I just couldnt see letting him come home from school he can’t stay home for ever wish I was smrt enough to home school him.

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