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Oct 11 National Stop Bullying Day, which falls on the second Wednesday in October, schoolchildren, their teachers and their parents spend time learning about bullying and recognizing how they can prevent it. It calls on schools and organizations to bring together children, educators, and parents for the sake of preventing bullying situations.Bullying can come in many forms, and victims can feel helpless or unsure of how to stop the situation. While bystander intervention is an effective way to stop bullying in real-time, understanding how it can be prevented can be even more important.

HISTORY OF NATIONAL STOP BULLYING DAY Though there have always been bullies, it wasn’t until the 1970s that the issue began to be researched. Dr. Dan Olweus, a Norweigan psychologist, spearheaded efforts to better understand and prevent bullying. In 1983, in response to the tragic suicide of three boys who were being bullied, Dr. Olweus developed a bullying prevention program that helped to inform American anti-bullying efforts in the 1990s. In 1999, after the school shooting at Columbine, anti-bullying programs sprung up in and around schools. The tragic event seemed to give way to the movement, which focused on fixing the environment around victims – no longer putting the weight of the burden on the victim. To combat bullying, anti-bullying laws and policies were introduced, and teachers focused on empowering bystanders, policing classrooms and hallways, and punishing and reforming the bullies. Georgia and California were two of the states that were quickest to adopt anti-bullying legislation. For California, this came in 2008 and focused specifically on eliminating the emerging threat of cyberbullying. This followed the Federal law that stated it was illegal to abuse and harass others online – while not explicitly naming cyberbullying, it went a long way towards prevention of the act. In addition to legislation, organizations and foundations to prevent and eradicate bullying have significantly helped combat the issue. Examples include the National Bullying Prevention Center, launched by the group PACER in 2006, and the STOMP Program in 2005, which is dedicated to eradicating cyberbullying, racism, and homophobia. Started by two college women in 2009, The Kind Campaign aims to stop bullying between girls. Today, bullying is a nationally-recognized issue, and there are many resources for parents, teachers, victims of bullying, and bystanders to help stomp out the problem.


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