Bullying has become an epidemic in North American society. Epidemic is a very strong word but useful to describe the growing trouble… and it’s time to make a change on Anti-Bullying Day. Today’s post is inspired because it’s Anti-Bullying Day in Canada. It started in Nova Scotia when a student was bullied for wearing a pink shirt on the first day of school and now the pink shirt has turned into a symbol of support.
Also happening today, Lady Gaga is officially launching her Born This Way Foundation, with support from Harvard. The BTWF aims to foster a more accepting society and inspire bravery and kindness. As a bullied child herself, Lady Gaga understands.
While I feel fortunate to never have been severely bullied, I was still exposed to it. From being kicked by a boy a few years older for no reason, to witnessing things and not saying anything- the memories stay with you.
Are there things you regret doing? Or not doing?
Bullying used to end at school, now it continues beyond the halls and into homes through constant text messages, facebook and the Internet. There’s even a new definition- Cyber-bullying that didn’t exist when I was in school. Apart from making me feel old-ish, by saying back when I was in school- I think it’s really important to recognize the power of the Internet for good and for bad and to try to do something about it for others.
On March 30th a new film called Bully sheds light on bullying in American schools. The film demonstrates some shocking statistics- 13 million students will be bullied this year alone in the US and 3 million students are absent each month because they feel afraid to go to school. That’s just wrong.
There is a greater movement along with the film called the Bully Project, which aims to stop bullying and have kids speak up. While I am no longer in school, I think being empowered to stand up to bullying is an extremely important message.
Right now there is a mini controversy brewing as the film was rated R, which means that the kids who need to see it most won’t be able. A petition on the activist site change.org is asking people to sign the petition to force the rating change. Please take a moment to sign it. It’s one small step, but at least it’s doing something.