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Anyone who goes to school knows all to well about bullying.

In a national report, 1 in 6 students reported that they’ve either been the victim of some form of bullying or, witnessed others being bullied. And 1 in 8 have experienced bigotry and name calling.

You’re not alone!!! It’s a reality and it won’t stop unless you take action.

No one deserves to be bullied.

Schools often have policies or rules that govern interpersonal relationships -- speak up. If your school doesn’t have the policies or rules, get as many friends together as you can to campaign for change in school policies and present the policies to your principal, teachers and school advisors.

Many schools have awareness-raising resources, lesson plans and activities about the how harmful bullying, bias and bigotry are.

Ask your school to adopt an environment that supports and encourages compassion, understanding and acceptance of difference. Create campaigns against name-calling or the casual bigotry that can fill school hallways.

Peer pressure is very often a strong motivator …both positively and negatively. Keep in mind that allies are important. You should seek them out and be an ally for others.

When You Hear Remarks About:

  • Someone's Sexual Identity
  • Someone's Family Member
  • Someone's Weight
  • Someone's Choice of Dress
  • Someone's Skin Color
  • Someone's Accent
  • Someone's Disability

or -- a number of any other remarks:

  • Support the person being bullied. You may not have the same sexual identity or preference, but everyone is entitled to their own choices. It doesn't make them bad or different -- it's just their choice.
  • If you hear someone using bigoted names, speak up! Start a "Words Hurt'
    campaign. Urge students, the principal and the entire faculty to sponsor a week or month-long campaign about the damage that hurtful words cause.
  • Ask the school to train student mediators in conflict resolution.
  • Adopt a NO TOLERANCE policy.

These differences are JUST differences. It does not mean that Billy is better than Johnny or that Suzy is better than Janie. It just means that we all are what we are -- people!

Students going to the same school, studying the same courses and if we do things or act a little differently from someone else -- NO ONE has the right to judge that!

Ideas for your school

- Ask your school to set up a private ballot box where kids who are being bullied can report it anonymously

- Get someone to sponsor a conflict resolution team.

- Encourage school administrators to adopt Internet-use polices that address online hate, harassment and pornography.

Make A Pledge

Below is a sample No Bullying - No Tolerance Pledge. Feel free to use it or add your own words. Get the entire student body to sign one. Carry a small version folded in your wallet, have a pledge wall at school with everyone's pledges and make sure everyone gives a copy of their pledge to the school principal.

No Bullying - No Tolerance Pledge

I believe that we all have the right to be who we are without bias or judgment. I recognize the insensitivity, bias, bigotry and ignorance is prejudice and discrimination.

In order to be a fair and respectful person and make my school, community and country a better place, Today I make a personal pledge to honor and respect everyone …no matter what their beliefs, abilities, race, culture, sexual identity, or other characteristics are.

In order to fulfill my pledge, I (Your Name) will:

Be kind and considerate of others and their feelings

Look at my own biases, get help and work hard to overcome them
Speak our against hate, bigotry and injustice
Pledge no tolerance at school, in my community and at home
We are all different, yet we share a community, we share a world! We share the joys of being fair and tolerant and making our shared communities and world a better place.

Ask your school to establish a RESPECT POLICY.

At the beginning of the school year, establish teams that include students, and faculty – as well as parents. Talk about the school’s rules and culture. Make presentations in small groups or in an assembly. Discuss sexual harassment and sexual orientation, bigotry, bias and other hate issues.

Promote respect. Acknowledge dignity, a person’s worth and diversity.

Write an honor and respect mission statement.

Take corrective and disciplinary action when the Respect Policy is broken. File a grievance.

Establish a Safe Contact Policy

A Safe Contacts Policy ensures schools that students have someone to turn to for sensitive problems. The principal can distribute or read the policy to students early in the year and ask teachers to post it in classrooms, or a team of educators and students that includes the designated safe contact persons can take it to classrooms.

You can change the way you treat people. You can change your school, you can change your community ... you can change the world!

It's up to you!!! What kind of world do you want to live in?