Letters to the Editor
Communicate to prevent bullying
For many, the back to school excitement has begun. But with all the excitement of shopping for clothes and supplies, many forget the worry and stress that students can face when returning to school for the new year. Children and teens may experience a wide range of emotions and anxieties when the school year begins, which extend beyond meeting new teachers, finding new peer groups, or trying out a new sport or activity. Many students are faced with bullying, a wide spread issue in all communities.
Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior has the potential to be repeated over and over. It includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone either physically or verbally, or excluding someone from a group on purpose.
Research has shown that bullying and cyberbullying have serious physical and emotional consequences. It leads to low self-esteem, health issues, isolation, and even suicidal thoughts and ideation.
Parents, caregivers and teachers can help students alleviate the worry associated with the start of a new school year. Have regular conversations with your students about daily life, their activities, friends, etc. Keep the lines of communication open. If your student seems distance or troubled, talk to them.
With regular conversations, as well as education and awareness of bullying, children and parents alike will be better equipped to face the new school year.
You can learn more about prevention and dealing with bullying at stopbullying.gov. You can also reach out to Hands of Hope Resource Center for help and information. Together, we can make this school year enjoyable and full of memories.
Violence Prevention Coordinator
Hands of Hope Resource Center
Long Prairie and Little Falls