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Nation’s educators continue push for safe, bully-free environments

For Bully Prevention Month NEA reaches out to parents

WASHINGTON - October 08, 2012 -

This National Bullying Prevention Month, the National Education Association (NEA) has ramped up its efforts to make the nation’s schools and classrooms safe, bully-free environments for all students.

Bullying impacts approximately 13 million students every year, and some 160,000 students stay home from school each day because of bullying. “This a social justice issue for us because bullying compromises students’ basic right to learn and grow in a safe environment,” says NEA President Dennis Van Roekel.

In a 2010 survey of more than 5,000 NEA members, which included teachers and education support professionals, 62 percent indicated they’d witnessed bullying two or more times in the last month. Forty-one percent indicated they’d witnessed bullying once a week or more.

NEA provides teachers and education support professionals with prevention and intervention strategies and resources through and in-person trainings. Through these resources and trainings, educators learn to address the “three B’s”: the student who bullies, the bullied, and the bystander.

Technology has also changed the face of bullying. NEA has responded with cyberbullying and sexting prevention resources, and these are now among the most-requested by NEA members.

Research shows that in and around schools there are “bullying hot spots” such as buses, cafeterias, playgrounds, and hallways. For this reason, NEA has prepared bully prevention resources specifically designed for bus drivers, food service workers, custodians, and other educators who work in these hot spots, but are often overlooked when it comes to school district trainings.

In addition, NEA now offers bullying prevention resources for parents on including three ways parents can help educators combat bullying:

  • Don’t ignore the signs. Do pay attention. Torn clothes, bruises, loss of appetite, mood changes and reluctance to go to school are all signs of a being bullied. Impulsiveness, lack of empathy, desire to be in control, arrogance, boastfulness and poor sportsmanship could suggest a child is prone to bullying behavior.
  • Don’t inadvertently make bullying okay. Do take care to model and expose positive behavior. Set adequate limits and disallow aggression toward siblings, other family members and peers. Monitor internet, media and television use. “Situations where disputes are handled physically, or where exclusion and manipulation are used to get one’s way, are behaviors children may mimic,” Van Roekel points out.
  • Don’t minimize the impact of bullying. Do intervene as soon as there’s a problem. Children have different levels of coping. What may be considered teasing to one may be humiliating and devastating to another. Bullying tendencies present at a young age can become permanent personality traits. Take any and all steps to address bullying—including getting professional help. And be sure to inform someone in your child’s school that your child is being bullied. It’s crucial that parents have a contact person in the school—whether it be a principal or assistant principal, a teacher or a support staff person.

President Van Roekel concludes: “Parents, families and educators are on the same team. The good news is by working together, we can create safe, bully-free environments for all students.”

Click here for more information on NEA’s campaign to connect caring adults with bullied students, “Bully Free: It Starts with Me.”

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The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Stacey Grissom  (202) 822-7823,