EVERY October, schools and organizations across the country join STOMP Out Bullying™ in observing National Bullying Prevention Month.

The goal: encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages. This week (October 17-30) is STAND UP for Others week.

STOMP Out Bullying is the leading national anti-bullying and cyberbullying organization for kids and teens in the United States. Their organization provides the following information to help you STAND UP for Others:

Bystanders are kids and teens who witness bullying and cyberbullying in action, who stand by and watch, who videotape it and make it viral...and WHO DO AND SAY NOTHING.

Very often they don’t know what to do. They’re afraid of retaliation or fear that their own group will exclude them for helping an outsider.

When you’re a bystander it’s important to know that by doing nothing you are sending a message to the bully that their behavior is acceptable.

It isn’t!

And that’s not a message you want to send, nor is it a message you would want someone to send if you were a victim.

Yes, it is scary to directly confront a bully and sometimes it can mean taking a big risk.

STAND UP!

Whether you know the victim or not, there are things that you as a bystander can safely do to support the victim:

• Don’t laugh

• Don’t encourage the bully in any way

• Stay at a safe distance and help the target get away

• Don’t become an “audience” for the bully

• Reach out in friendship

• Help the victim in any way you can

• Support the victim in private

• If you notice someone being isolated from others, invite them to join you

• Include the victim in some of your activities

• Tell an adult

There is strength in numbers. Every school and every community has more caring kids than bullies.

If you are NOT part of the solution, you ARE part of the problem! Unite, be empowered and speak out against bullying and cyberbullying!

Together, you can STOMP Out Bullying — but only if you do something!

When you see someone being bullied and/or cyberbullied and you help them...you stop being a bystander and become an upstander!

STAND UP for others! Be a Hero! Be a leader and STOMP Out Bullying!

No child is immune from bullying. Children with disabilities…such as physical, developmental, emotional, intellectual and sensory disabilities — are at an increased risk of being bullied.

There are a number of factors such as physical vulnerability, social skill challenges, or intolerant environments which could increase the risk. Some children with disabilities may bully others.

For more information on how to STOMP Out Bullying, please visit www.stompoutbullying.org and for more about protections for children with disabilities contact the Northern Marianas Protection & Advocacy Systems Inc. or NMPASI at 235-7273 or visit us online at www.nmpasi.org

GREG BORJA
Projects Specialist
NMPASI