Build a Better World by Fighting Bullying
Bullying seems to have really been on a lot of our radars lately.
Of course, there's nothing new about bullying, but many of us are becoming more sensitive to the ramifications of bullying for everyone. Furthermore, we are recognizing that rather than simply ignoring it as a "normal" part of childhood, we, as role models and authority figures have the power to stop it.
Bullying is a common problem: about 3.2 million students are victims of bullying and 160,000 teens skip school every day for fear of bullies (source: dosomething.org). Around 20% of kids experience being bullied (source: stopbullying.gov).
Some of you might be thinking, I don't work in a school, though! But bullying is not only a problem that occurs in schools. Unfortunately, bullying can occur anywhere.
Bullies may follow their victims to your library or be people victims encounter only in the library. And, of course, you want to arm your youngest patrons with tools they can use to fight bullying anywhere. Sadly, many kids report that they don't see the adults in their lives, including teachers, as doing much to prevent bullying. This is another reason for you to provide your kids with your support.
And even though 20% of kids are the victims of bullies, bullying doesn't effect only those who are bullied. Kids who bully may be more likely to be drug and alcohol abusers, drop out of school, become criminals, and abuse spouses as adults.
More troubling, bullying affects bystanders, too. Bystanders may experience guilt or shame over finding themselves unable to help. They feel powerless and often have increased risk of mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. Like bullies, they make be at higher risk for substance abuse, and like the bullied they are more likely to skip school.
There are many ways you can help. Stopbullying.gov is a great government resource with information for parents, teachers, the community and kids, as well as lots of information on types of bullying, prevention, studies and statistics, and ways to respond. It is well worth a look. Dosomething.org has lots of campaigns you can join including many related to bullying. The National Education Association has a list of quick tips. And, of course, there's lots more out there if you go looking!
SWON's Summer Reading Workshop is coming up, soon, where we provide topics loosely organized around the Collaborative Summer Reading theme: Build a Better World. We take a broad view on the theme, hoping to provide you with program ideas that move beyond the more apparent, as well as to help you create programming all year round.
With that in mind, we are offering a 90-minute session from the Cincinnati Martial Art Club's "Bully Expert", Master McDuffie Strickland. Master Strickland is an 8th Degree Grandmaster Black Belt who has been teaching martial arts since 1975. And he is a member of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame!
His fun and interactive program has been shared at schools, including assemblies, at various youth organizations, and for staff training. We are excited to bring this program to you and we promise, no martial arts are required!
To experience Master Strickland's program for yourself, anyone who does library programming for Youth Services is invited to register for our Spring Workshop on March 2nd in Wilmington, OH. We'll have lots of other topics anyone can use, such as coding, financial literacy, teaching kindness and empathy, saving the planet and early literacy practices.
We believe there are lots of ways you can "Build a Better World" and we hope you will join us to explore them!
Cassondra Vick, MLIS
Technology Educator, SWON Libraries
4/2/2017 - Wilmington, OH