Did you know that October was National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month? Bullying is a serious national issue which sadly has a negative impact from youth in the schools all the way up into the business world. This post will briefly share a little information and provide some resources.
Webster’s defines bullying or a bully as someone who uses browbeating language or behavior to be habitually cruel to someone weaker than himself. This can particularly apply to someone who has physical strength, power by position, or as a member of a majority group, uses this strength to belittle and harm a person. Instead of using their strength to bully others, people should have a positive impact by using their strengths to assist and mentor others.
Starting with our youth, bullying can be particularly harmful if unaddressed, and can lead to destructive behavior on the part of our children. The victims of bullying can turn inward, turn to alcohol and drugs, and in the worst cases get involved in gangs or attempt suicide. I wrote a blog two years ago in terms of how especially gay bullying can even grow from an individual issue into a serious drain on our national economy and well-being. (Link to “The Macroeconomics of Gay Bullying”).
Here are some resources for school environments:
• The boys of Robert Land Academy in Vancouver, Canada have taken a pledge to not bully nor be a bystander when they see bullying happening, and you and your school can also take the pledge (link).
• Anti-bullying resources from GLSEN (Gay,Lesbian and Straight Education Network)
• “Bully Free – It Starts with Me” resources from the US National Education Association.
• Check out a new cool book for children on anti-bullying by leading diversity, inclusion and anti-bullying consultants AK Consulting.
And now the discussion is turning beyond bullying in the schoolyards; business leaders are now more openly discussing the issue of bullying in the workplace. Last year I wrote a blog (link) about how schoolyard bullies can grow up to become workplace harassers. Even last week at my local Triangle Society of Human Resource Management (TSHRM) monthly luncheon meeting, we had an excellent speaker (Jennifer Alfonso of AngerManagement.org). She taught us the difference between bullying and harassment, the different styles of bullying and how to identify them, the tremendous costs to a business when bullying is present, and the importance of having corporate policies to address bullying.
Bullying is bad for our schools, our country, our economy and our business and together we need to be vigilant to continually battle against it. Let us use our talents and strengths to build up each other and our world!