By Sen. Bill Monning
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” One way to remind us to highlight kindness in our daily lives is to acknowledge October as National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.
Every October since 2006, schools and communities alike make efforts to become more aware of the serious consequences of bullying by learning more about bullying prevention and the importance of spreading kindness.
Simply put, bullying is unsolicited, hostile behavior that implicates a real or perceived imbalance of power. Such actions can include starting or perpetuating rumors, making threats and/or inflicting emotional or physical harm. While bullying can affect anyone at any age, it is extremely pronounced among school -age children, particularly in the form of cyber-bullying.
Research has linked bullying to a myriad of negative outcomes, including adverse impacts on mental health, an increase in substance abuse and suicide.
Promoting acts of kindness is just one of the many ways to prevent bullying. It is also important for adults and children to openly discuss the real impacts of bullying while fostering kind and respectful behavior. Bullying can be prevented, especially when communities work together with our schools to identify broad based pre-emptive strategies.
National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month has brought schools, community organizations and the government together to collectively strategize and identify tools that can be utilized for bullying prevention, and the website stopbullying.gov provides specialized training and materials for practical bullying awareness and prevention.
This October, we can all take a moment to reflect upon the importance of spreading awareness about and help to prevent bullying. If you or someone you know is being subjected to bullying behavior, there are numerous ways to seek help, and I encourage you to visit stopbullying.gov to learn more about what you can do to put an end to bullying in your community or school.
Sen. Bill Monning represents the 17th State Senate District, which includes all of San Luis Obispo and Santa Cruz counties, and portions of Monterey and Santa Clara counties.