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County schools stand against bullying

Mountain City Elementary wear blue to celebrate the World Day of Bullying Prevention. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox encouraged all county schools to participate. Photo by Gay Triplett.

By Meg Dickens
STAFF WRITER

World Day of Bullying Prevention was Monday, October 7. Director of Schools Mischelle Simcox encouraged schools countywide to follow Stomp Out Bullying’s advice to “Blue Up” by wearing blue to show support to stop bullying.
Stomp Out Bullying’s motto is to stand against hate, racism, and discrimination to create harmony.
“The staff and students at Mountain City Elementary participated in the World Day of Bullying Prevention. This happens on the first Monday of every October,” explained Mountain City Elementary Principal Gay Triplett. “Students, schools, and communities all over the world go BLUE together on this day to show support against bullying. It kicks off National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.”
Bullying does more damage than some may think. It harms the victims, bullies, and bystanders in the process.
The US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has linked bullying to negative consequences, which include mental health problems, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts.
Events like these promote awareness and discourage bullying. A push in the right direction may be all it takes to turn a bystander into an “upstander.”
The Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) defines the bystander effect as a psychological phenomenon where bystanders feel discouraged to help if others are nearby. The more bystanders, the less likely someone will take action because he or she assumes someone else will. This is called diffusion of responsibility.
According to DHHS, there are many simple ways to curb bullying. Most of these tips depend on shifting the focus off of the victim. Redirecting conversation, diffusing the atmosphere with humor, and walking with targets to avoid leaving them alone are all simple and easy ways to help decrease potential bullying.
Anti-bullying tactics operate best when adults and children work together to cover the full spectrum.
The best way to prevent bullying is to teach children what it involves. Common bullying consists of teasing, threatening to harm someone, spreading rumors, intentionally not including someone, or attacking someone either physically or with words.

Find more information on bullying and how to prevent it at www.stopbullying.gov.