As the nation responds to the devastating effects of bullying, it is important to highlight the crucial role of an upstander. An upstander is a person who speaks up or stands up to bullying and intolerance, either to prevent or intervene when someone is being harmed. By Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director I, for one, would not be here if it were not for an upstander. My father’s family barely escaped the Holocaust after Kristallnacht, the “Night of Broken Glass” in Berlin on Nov. 9, 1938. He and his family found refuge in Shanghai, China.
national bullying prevention month
What's happening across the country for Bullying Prevention Month—and this is just the first week! StopBullying.gov is sponsoring the Stop Bullying Challenge, a PSA campaign for youth to make videos to show how they’re more than a bystanderThis contest gives young people another way to create a more positive and healthy environment in their schools and communities. Youth between 13 and 18 years old are invited to submit original PSAs, 30-60 seconds long by Oct. 14 at 11 p.m. EST. Watch this invitation from Arne Duncan, Secretary of Education Pacer, the national organization that initiated Bullying Prevention Month is promoting Unite Against Bullying Wednesday, Oct. 10 is Unity Day, a special event during National Bullying Prevention Month. The key message is, “Make it Orange, Make it End!”
“It’s not just, oh, you get bullied and the next year it gradually tapers off and you’re a normal person. It sticks with you your entire life. I still get these occasional feelings, like I’m not good enough. I never felt anything like that before the ninth grade.” Mike Nelson, now a successful ad agency producer, knows how devastating bullying can be. He brought his own experience to a video PSA, "Break Bullying," that shows how shockingly degrading and harmful bullying can look if seen it from the perspective of an adult. (See Nelson’s bullying story below.) “Kids aren’t going to accept something that’s watered down,” said Nelson, head of production at MAKE. “Let’s get real about this.” MAKE is based in Minneapolis, Minn. and does commercial work for companies such as McDonalds, Target, Burger King and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Two years ago, the team began creating PSAs pro bono around issues they were passionate about and donating the PSAs to organizations they supported, including the Salvation Army, Animal Humane Society, Second Harvest Food Bank and the National Fatherhood Initiative.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. NIOS is joining organizations across the country that are taking a stand against bullying. Not In Our School is kicking off National Bullying Prevention Month with a powerful anti-bullying public service announcement, “Break Bullying” (above) donated to Not In Our Town by MAKE, a professional ad agency. The PSA depicts adults in an office environment re-enacting the director’s personal bullying experience from middle school. His point: If we would not stand for this in the office, why do we stand for it happening to kids in schools? It is a call to action for everyone to take bullying seriously. Students and teachers alike are reporting visceral responses to the PSA. You will hear a few bleeps—but those bleeps, unedited, are what kids experience daily in their schools. Join the thousands who are taking action during bullying prevention month. Post this video on your Facebook page, share the link with your friends, speak up and stand up to bullying in your community.