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October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Y programs and facilities are safe, supportive spaces for kids.

According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, one in five students report being bullied. Many children who are bullied, do not report it.

National Bullying Prevention Month is an awareness campaign that serves as a dedicated reminder for how to identify and address bullying.

What is bullying?
“Bullying” is a term that you hear a lot about these days. StopBullying.gov defines bullying as, “Unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

Examples of bullying might include:

  • Making threats
  • Spreading rumors
  • Attacking someone physically or verbally
  • Purposefully excluding someone from a group

How the Y helps

The YMCA believes that everyone deserves a chance to succeed—and that can happen only when we unite to nurture the best in all of us. In Y programs like Camps, Child Care and Sports, kids learn about—and practice—the Y’s core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility.

With these foundational principles, by design, the Y is a place where bullying isn’t tolerated.

To stop bullying before it starts, the School Age Care curriculum focuses on character development and team-building. For example, Peggy LaCroix, School Age Care Program Director in Eagan notes that each School Age Care location reviews the Y’s core values each day with kids.

To stop bullying before it starts, the School Age Care curriculum focuses on character development and team-building. For example, Peggy LaCroix, School Age Care Program Director in Eagan notes that each School Age Care location reviews the Y’s core values each day with kids.

For example, Emily Podolsky, School Age Care Site Director at Westview Elementary says, “Our junior leader program gives older kids an opportunity to serve as mentors, learn about conflict resolution and help with younger kids.” And, at Greenleaf Elementary, kids are encouraged make sure no one feels excluded by inviting others to “friends table.”

When bullying occurs

A study found that 64% of children who were bullied did not report it. At the Y, everyone—especially kids—should feel welcome, and are encouraged to say something if they are being bullied, or see others being bullied.

“We want kids to be happy to be at the Y,” says Andy. That’s why when bullying is reported or suspected, communication is key.

Peggy notes, “We hear all sides, work to identify the root cause, and put in a plan in place that might involve team members, parents, school and the children.”

If your children attend Y programs, know they are supported and cared for by team members that are trained to watch for warning signs, document and investigate possibly bullying, and swiftly put resolution plans in place.