October is Bullying Prevention Month, a time to remember that everyone can have a voice in raising awareness of bullying. Bullying Prevention Month was launched in 2006 by the PACER Center for children with disabilities, to encourage individuals to take an active role in the bullying prevention movement.
Bullying and harassment can have both short- and long-term effects on children and youth. Research shows that, in addition to the risk of physical injury, victims of bullying are at greater risk of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts than other children and youth.
About 42% of 7th graders, 35% of 9th graders, and 28% of 11th graders in California reported being bullied or harassed at school at least once in the past year, according to 2008-10 data from kidsdata.org. Bullying and harassment at school have taken on new forms in recent years as more children and youth use social media. Recent deaths of teens in California and nationwide have prompted a national conversation on bullying, and a number of new bullying prevention efforts have emerged. In addition, federal lawmakers are considering anti-bullying legislation that would provide money to schools nationwide to improve learning conditions, increase opportunities for physical activity and nutrition education, prevent drug use and violence, and promote mental health.
When youth are bullied or harassed at school, the most common reason cited is because of race or national origin. Students who are gay, lesbian, or bisexual -- or who are perceived to be – also are at particularly high risk of being bullied or harassed.
For more information about bullying in California, see these measures on kidsdata.org: