Stand for the Silent, an organization helping to stop school bullying is putting the warning signs in the spotlight.
Most parents are familiar with bullying and have seen the harmful role it can play in the lives of children. While we know what it is, we may not always know the signs to look for if our child is being bullied. We are also not usually sure what to do about it if we spot the warning signs. One organization, Stand for the Silent, is on a mission to change that and help end the bullying problem in our schools nationwide.
“We know firsthand how devastating bullying can be and the damage it can lead to,” says Kirk Smalley, co-founder of Stand for the Silent. “We don’t want others to live through the heartache we have endured due to bullying. We want to empower others to help identify and stop it in its tracks.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bullying is any unwanted aggressive behavior by another youth that involves a perceived power imbalance. It can include physical actions, verbal, damaging one’s property, and cyberbullying. The CDC reports that one in five high school students reports being bullied on school property and that bullying is at its highest in middle school.
Here are crucial signs that your child is being bullied:
- Sudden changes in school attendance, avoiding recess, or being withdrawn.
- Complaining of headaches, stomach aches, or a loss of appetite before going to school and returning home.
- Having difficulty concentrating, displaying signs of anxiety or depression, or talking about running away or suicide.
- Has a noticeable difference from other students or a learning disability.
- Lacks the ability to be self-assertive or has insufficient social skills and body language that reflects low self-esteem.
- Has injuries and does not provide clear explanations of how they obtained them.
“When we visit schools to do a presentation, we focus on helping to create an atmosphere that will keep bullying from growing,” adds Smalley. “Together, we can help reduce bullying and its harmful impact on our children and, ultimately, our nation.”
Not only can identifying bullying and addressing it help make a child’s life more comfortable, but it can be a matter of life and death and of having good mental health. A study published in the November 2023 journal Current Opinion in Psychiatry reports that evidence indicates that bullied kids have higher odds of developing mental health problems. They say that identifying bullying and intervening is crucial.
The first step is to create an anti-bullying atmosphere in schools nationwide. Identifying that a child is being bullied is the second step. Once it has been identified, it must be addressed immediately. There are things that schools can do to help prevent the problem in the first place. When bullying does happen, parents and educators can immediately address it and speak with the parents of all the students involved.
About Stand for the Silent
Smalley and his late wife, Laura, started the organization following their 11-year-old son ending his own life due to bullying. They turned their pain and loss into a mission of helping others. He travels the country giving presentations about bullying to schools, providing bullying prevention, giving out scholarships, offering intervention strategies, and more. Those interested in getting involved can start a chapter of the group in their area, obtain a free K-2 bullying prevention curriculum, host a presentation at their school, and donate to help support the cause. To get more information, visit the site at: https://standforthesilent.org/