Ads to Help Parents Teach Kids to Speak Up Against Bullying
Starting in October, look for television, print, and web ads aimed at parents to teach their children to get involved when the kids witness bullying in their school. The ad campaign, was created by the Ad Council, a non-profit that distributes public service announcements, and the Free to Be Foundation, that includes entertainers Marlo Thomas, author of Free to Be You and Me,,comedian Mel Brooks, and actor Alan Alda.
An Issue that Obama Administration Consider a National Priority
The ads were first seen in early August at an annual anti-bullying conference. Hosted by the Department of Education, lawmakers, educators and government officials developed a national strategy aimed at ensuring a safe, healthy learning environment for students. Attendees heard keynote speeches by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary at the summit.
Parents Responsible for Kids’ Safety
Kids hear every day that they are “worthless” and “everybody hates you.” To counteract these negative messages barraging them, these ads will help parents bolster their children’s self-esteem so they can be pro-active rather than passive when bullying occurs.
Bullying Can Lead to Suicide
Because of the high incidence of student suicides due to bullying, Sebelius calls these needless suicides a national wake-up call. “We are responsible for our children’s safety,” Sebelius confirms. “And no one can afford to be a bystander. It’s a systematic situation that threatens the health and well-being of our young people. It’s destructive to our communities and devastating to our future.”
Cyberbullying Becoming a Bigger Problem
With heavy usage of text messaging, Internet among students, cyberbulling has become an escalating problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has added bullying to its regular survey of risk behavior in schools.
Anti-Bullying Tactics in School
School districts and states are working hard to combat school bullying. Thirty-six state anti-bullying laws were enacted in 2009 and 2010. GLSEN (Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network) also has programs for K-12 to keep children safe in schools.
Education advocates are particularly concerned about bullying that is directed against students who are perceived as lesbian or gay such as Tyler Clementi, the 18-year-old who killed himself in 2010 after being bullied online by his college roommate.