According to Bullying Statistics, it is estimated that nearly three million students in the U.S. are bullied each year. Fifteen percent of school absences are a result of students that are afraid to attend school because of bullying. Bullying has become an epidemic and more than half of children witness their peers being bullied on a regular basis.
In the growing age of technology, escaping bullying is not as easy as avoiding school and the bullies. The use of cellular phones and texting, as well as social media sites such as Facebook, Myspace, as well as You Tube and email, have allowed bullies to continue to bully peers even when they are not in their presence. Cyber bullying has the potential to do even more harm than face to-face bullying as it is spread and viewed by others.
The link between students that commit suicide and bullying cannot be overlooked. The majority of teenagers that commit suicide are teens that have been bullied on a regular basis. The connection that bullying has on suicide is so large the term bullycide, rather than suicide, is now being used by some to describe such suicide cases. The affects of bullying are unacceptable and tragic. It is the responsibility of local communities and society to put an end to bullying.
Early childhood educators realize the importance of proactively putting an end to bullying. Rasmussen College School of Education students devote class time to strategize ways to implement zero tolerance policies against bullying. Students at the Rockford campus are encouraged to join the Winnebago County Child and Youth Safety committee. This committee is currently working on an Anti-Bullying project, which hopes to pilot in Rockford Public Schools during the 2013-2014 school year. The Child and Youth Safety committee is in process of creating an anti-bullying tool kit for classroom teachers and schools and developing training to be made available to District 205 and the surrounding community.
Anti-bullying efforts are already in place in some of Rockford’s schools. The Violence Enders, a student led organization that promotes anti-violence and respect, has an active presence in three of Rockford’s public schools. With the support of the Child and Youth Safety Committee, it is anticipated the Violence Enders will have a presence in at least three additional schools in Rockford during the 2013-2014 school year.
The Child and Youth Safety Committee of the Winnebago County Illinois Family Violence Coordinating Council is an open committee that meets on the first Tuesday of every month at 9:30 a.m. in the lower level of the Winnebago County Courthouse. The committee is open to any volunteer member desiring to promote the safety of children. Presently, Rasmussen College students with a passion to end bullying in our community are welcome to join the committee and should contact Kym Blanton, Early Childhood Education Program Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.