Campaign to Prevent Youth Bullying Announced
March 02, 2004
"Bullying is something that we cannot ignore," Secretary Thompson said. "From the schoolrooms to the schoolyards we must nurture a healthy environment for our children. By engaging the entire community in preventing bullying we can promote a more peaceful and safe place for children to grow."
The campaign -- "Take A Stand. Lend A Hand. Stop Bullying Now!" -- is designed to stop bullying, including verbal or physical harassment that occurs repeatedly over time, that is intended to cause harm, and that involves an imbalance of power between the child who bullies and the child who is bullied. Among boys, bullying typically involves pushing, shoving, and other forms of physical intimidation. Girls tend to bully through gossiping, social exclusion, and verbal teasing, but boys frequently engage in these forms of bullying as well.
The campaign was developed by HHS' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in partnership with more than 70 health, safety, education and faith-based organizations. In addition, a Youth Expert Panel comprised of 18 9- through 13-year- olds provided creative direction during the development of the campaign.
Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona and HRSA Administrator Betty James Duke launched the new campaign at the KIPP DC: KEY Academy in Washington, D.C., today. They were joined by Miss America 2003 Erika Harold and Washington Redskins receiver Darnerien McCants.
"Whether the bully or the bullied, kids involved in this torment can have lasting social and emotional implications," Dr. Carmona said. "By engaging the entire community in this open dialogue we can begin to discuss the problems and potential ramifications of bullying, and then look for ways to prevent it in society. Kids should be able to live and learn without the threat of being harassed."
The impact of bullying on children's educational success and personal well-being is tremendous. According to the U.S. Department of Education, one in four children who act as bullies will have a criminal record by the age of 30. Studies have shown people who bully others often behave badly in school and are more likely to smoke, drink alcohol, and tend to receive lower grades.
The "Stop Bullying Now!" campaign includes a Web-based, animated story featuring a cast of young people who deal with bullies in the classrooms, hallways, and grounds of a middle school. With help from teachers, parents, and other adults, the bullied characters get support from fellow students who step up to make it clear that bullying is "not cool."
"We know we need to change the culture that allows bullying to occur, particularly in school settings," Dr. Duke said. "This campaign tells educators and parents that bullying is a serious issue and provides resources that will help them put a stop to it."
In addition to the animated "webisodes," which will be updated every two weeks at http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov, the campaign will feature television and radio public service announcements distributed through the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) member stations. The campaign Web site also offers camera-ready print PSAs and a Resource Kit about bullying prevention programs and activities that can be implemented at the school or community level. The Web site and Resource Kit also provide tools to help in handling individual bullying problems and for creating bullying prevention programs.
For more information on "Take
A Stand. Lend A Hand. Stop Bullying Now!" go to http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.gov,
or call 1-888-ASK-HRSA.
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