In the post below, Tom Cochran and Lee Hirsch discuss their new joint initiative to spark action on bullying prevention nationwide.
Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero (Left), Lansing School District (LSD) Public Safety Director Cordelia Black (Middle), LSD Superintendent Yvonne Caamal Canul (Right), along with LSD Student Services Director Susan Land (not pictured) and Mayoral Staff Assistant Nicholas Soucy (not pictured) on the phone with The BULLY Project Team planning their campaign.
October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month and in more than 200 cities across the country, communities and their leaders are coming together to take action against bullying.
In the 2011 school year, 28 percent of kids between the ages of 12 and 18 were bullied at school. Understanding that bullying is a serious issue facing more than 1 in 4 children nationwide, the U.S. Conference of Mayors recently pledged its commitment to eradicate bullying and its harmful effects.
This year, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has joined forces with The BULLY Project for the Mayors Campaign to End Bullying, which aims to address the problem of bullying in our nation’s schools. During the month of October, well over 200 mayors in nearly all 50 states will host events that bring together key stakeholders and community members to educate, inform and inspire lasting bullying prevention efforts. In activating a concerned and committed group of individuals, these mayors are proactively creating safe environments and welcoming school climates for our nation’s students and families.
Sparking a community-based discussion on bullying and how it can be addressed at the local level is an important first step for any leader interested in making a difference. Mayors and other elected officials who bring a unique blend of influence, capacity building and resources can play a critical role in getting these efforts off the ground.
For example, in Lansing, Michigan, Mayor Virg Bernero worked with the District Superintendent’s office to plan an event that would start a long-term conversation and community-based effort. They are inviting members of education, business, civic, and faith groups to the table for a proactive dialogue on how to bring bullying prevention plans directly into schools and community settings moving forward.
In Mooresville, North Carolina, Mayor Miles Atkins is issuing a formal proclamation of support for bullying prevention and has begun working with local school systems and community organizations to create a unified strategy to combat bullying. By working in partnership with these groups, Mayor Atkins can apply his unique role and influence to help connect the dots between independent efforts. This results in a bigger impact for Mooresville’s children and families.
Take Action Today
Local leaders interested in taking action can find critical resources to train each other and their community on the research and best practices in bullying prevention through the StopBullying.gov Training Center and the corresponding user guide for elected officials. StopBullying.gov also provides information on the current state policy landscape — an important resource for all elected officials. The BULLY Project also provides important tools for advocates, students, parents and educators.
From Michigan to North Carolina and in cities nationwide, bullying prevention is a community-based interest and effort. By prioritizing it as such, elected officials nationwide are advancing the idea that everyone has a unique role to play. Learn more about the Mayors Campaign to End Bullying to see if your city is participating at www.usmayors.org/bullyproject.