This week marks the beginning of Bullying Prevention Month, initiated by the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER) Center, where awareness is brought to the issue of bullying, so that everyone learns how big of a problem it is and how to prevent it.

In schools, it’s common to see bullying in the form of comments online and real life. Whether it be verbally or over social media platforms, it all hurts the same, which is why it is important to prevent it as much as possible. Here are some steps we can take at Oswego High School:

1. Remain positive

and that holds true in many situations at school. First of all, it’s common to want to drop in a negative comment when others are discussing someone you may dislike, but any sort of comment like that could spark more, which then leads to hurtful rumors that could be spread behind someone’s back. This can also occur online, where some people feel the urge to leave a comment just because it came to mind. Still, it is important to only contribute with positive comments to avoid hurting someone’s feelings and prevent bullying.

2. Understand the consequences

You can begin by educating yourself on the history of PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and why they initiated the awareness for this month. There are many things that could happen to someone being bullied—if it continues, they may grow to dislike themselves, move schools, or put their lives at risk. Everyone should consider the consequences that come with even the slightest negative comment toward someone in order to understand the significance of bullying prevention.

3. Stand up when you see it

Though it may seem hard, standing up for someone can make a big impact. Whether you hear others spreading negative comments, or you witness bullying face-to-face, defending the person getting bullied can assure them that they have someone on their side. Most times, getting called out for rude comments will embarrass someone who’s bullying and stop them in the act. You can also send an email or speak to a Dean, and report any bullying incidents that they can handle without mentioning your name.

4. Be there for others

Still, sometimes standing up isn’t enough. That’s why it is beyond important to be there for others. If someone you know is having a hard time, and they may need support at school, take the time to listen to them. Let them tell you about their struggles, and make sure they know that you’re there for them.

5. Look out for local events

Show your support by taking part in local events! PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center provides many examples of events in support of bullying prevention near you, like runs, biking, and fundraisers, including #BlueUp and Unity Day. Additionally, you can take it upon yourself to even propose an event to a staff member who may be able to help you put it together and get others to participate.

6. Spread awareness

Sharing the message of Bullying Prevention Month is simple; mentioning it to someone verbally or even making a post on social media about what this month means to you and how they can participate is more than helpful.

This month is all about bringing awareness to the issue of bullying, and at our school, it’s important that we play our part in not tolerating bullying. Make sure to spread positivity and support those around you, even when the month is over.

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