Musings of a Beaverton Teen: A Chance to Raise Anti-bulling Awareness

By Emery Hanel (12th Grade)brg_logo_stacked

Hey Beaverton teens! It’s October, the month filled with pumpkin spice lattes, corn maizes, and Halloween spirit. But what a lot of you might not realize is that there is something else happening this October, and it’s way more important than the next pumpkin-flavored this or that, any trek through confusing hay bales, or any Halloween costume party preparation. It’s a month designated to prevent something that all of you have witnessed, and most likely experienced, at one point another. Bullying.

Bullying is a serious problem in primary and secondary education. It can manifest itself in different forms: physical violence, emotional abuse through to-the-face insults, covert aggression expressed through exclusion and gossip, and, a now more recent issue with the increased use of smartphones and social media, cyberbullying, or bullying done online or over text.

The affects of bullying are serious. Those affected by bullying face not only a threat to their physical and mental health, but to their education. Students being bullied tend to avoid going to school, and are in turn absent more often than other students. Their grades typically decline, they struggle to focus, they lost interest in making any effort towards academic and extracurricular success, and may even drop out of school. Physical side effects of being bullied are an increase in stomachaches, headaches, and insomnia, all of which are rooted in the mental side effects: the development of depression and anxiety. Post-traumatic stress disorder is also common among victims of bullying. Moreover, victims are prone to isolate themselves, act aggressively towards others, fear other students due to the alienation they feel, and retaliate against their attacker. According to bullyingstatistics.org, victims are also two to nine times more likely to consider suicide.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. The nationwide campaign was founded by the Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER)’s National Bullying Prevention Center ten years ago in October of 2006. Celebrating a decade against bullying, the ten year anniversary is geared towards raising awareness of the cruelty that exists in our schools and combatting this social epidemic with three core values of every anti-bullying organization: kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

Want to be involved in PACER’s efforts to end bullying? Here’s how you can help:

  • Register your school or organization as a Champion Against Bullying.
  • Sign the digital “The End of Bullying Begins With Me” petition.
  • Sign up for the Bullying Prevention Newsletter.
  • Start a club at your school or within your local community with the mission to prevent bullying.
  • Download, print and share PACER’s informational flyer with your friends and family, or post it around your school and local community in designated areas.
  • Coordinate a fundraising race to both raise awareness of bullying and donate to PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center
  • On Wednesday, October 19, wear orange to celebrate Unity Day. On Unity Day, participants join a community dedicated to fighting bullying and support those who have been bullied.

Let’s end bullying, Beaverton teens. Stand up, don’t stand by. Be inspired by PACER’s efforts and let’s see what sort of positive change we can incite within our own city.

Emery Hanel is a senior at Jesuit High School who enjoys reading, writing, and playing lacrosse.