To claim your prize, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your address and what size shirt you would like! Congratulations to the winners and thank you to everyone for your participation and support!
After Matthew Bent’s son was body slammed to the floor from the shoulder of a classmate three times last week, the frustrated father decided that enough was enough. During the last year, Matthew’s son was repeatedly returning home from school with tales of torment from a group of boys who allegedly did things that ranged from stealing his personal property to calling him names, all while facing little to no consequences. Police officers went so far as to blame Matthew’s son, saying there was little they could do about the “rough housing” because he had walked “straight into the lion’s den” by willingly entering the area where the bullies were gathered. Matthew decided to post his story on Facebook, posing with his son in a photo that showcases the duo holding up a sign explaining the situation and calling attention to the lack of effective measures in place to protect Matthew’s son. Little did Matthew know that this one picture would make him an overnight Internet sensation and the new face of anti-bullying campaigns online.
Bullying is an epidemic of unlimited proportions. It is estimated that 1 in 4 teachers does not perceive an incident as bullying when it is; as a result, over 3.2 million students are bullied each year. Over half of all students have reported witnessing a bullying event while at school, and 1 in 10 students will drop out of school due to bullying. An alarming 90% of 4th to 8th graders report being victims of bullies. And, in the wake of the most violent times our nation faces, we surrender to this shocking statistic: 75% of school shooting incidents were triggered by bullying and harassment.
Matthew Bent’s son’s most recent incident was classified as “horseplay” by authorities, but Matthew disagrees. So how is bullying defined?
Saying or writing mean things
Inappropriate comments, sometimes of a sexual nature
Excluding someone from a group or activity with the intent of isolating them
Pressuring others to behave negatively toward another person
Spreading rumors about someone
Spitting on or at someone
Blocking someone’s exit to continue harassment
The taking and/or breaking of someone’s items
Rude or mean gestures
One or all of the above guidelines should be considered bullying if the behavior is aggressive and characterized by an imbalance of power (physical strength, access to embarrassing information, popularity, etc.) and repetition (if the behaviors happen frequently or appear that they potentially will.) Bullying has been shown to have negative life-long effects on both the victim and the aggressor.
Supporting zero tolerance for bullying in your local school can start small. Meet with teachers and administrators and ask what their policies are. Read over the student handbook and educate yourself on the rules and punishments of your school, in case you need to demand enforcement. Most importantly, reach out to your child. Explain what bullying is, and that it’s unacceptable. Help problem solve with them the steps they will take if they or another student are being bullied. And don’t forget to check in with them frequently to make sure they are not facing issues with their peers; even children who are very open and communicative may be confused, hurt, or scared to open up. Of equal importance, if your child is bullying others, reach out for help. Work with the school, counselors, and other officials to remedy the problem, and do not give up. We owe it to ourselves and to our children to work together and set good examples to stop the issue of bullying once and for all.
Cathy’s Creations is proud to say that we have joined the battle to raise awareness about the negative effects of bullying and have teamed up with Stop the Hate, Spread the Hope to create a Stop the Hate pendant. All profits from this pendant are donated to help this wonderful 501(c)(3) approved non-profit anti-bullying awareness organization with education, outreach, support, and efforts.
In an attempt to help spread the anti-bullying message, we will be giving away ten of these wonderful t-shirts! To enter to win, comment on this blog. We will select winners randomly.
Thank you Matthew Bent (and son!), Stop the Hate, Spread the Hope, and all anti-bullying warriors for your amazing approach to this societal issue. Keep up the good work!