Unity Day is coming up on October 19, a day where schools and communities around the country will come together to take a stand against bullying. The call to action is to wear and share the color orange as a visible representation of our society uniting for kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.
Why orange? Since Unity Day is held in October, orange is a color commonly identified with the month. In addition, it is also a color associated with safety and visibility, and orange has been described as warm and inviting.
I have shared some startling statistics on bullying in the past (see: cyberbullying and unite against bullying), but unfortunately bullying continues to be an issue, in schools and online. Bullying does not target only certain types of people – on the contrary, bullying can affect both men and women of all races, nationalities, shapes or sizes.
So what can you do to help?
- Ensure children understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is, how to stand up to it safely and how to get help.
- Keep lines of communication open. Check in with your children – know who their friends are and ask about school.
- Encourage children to do what they love. Activities, hobbies and interests can boost confidence and help children make friends.
- Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.
- For wonderful information on bullying, bully behavior, and action plans, you can visit https://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/parents/helping-your-child.asp
There are also numerous resources online that you can share with your children to help them understand what to do if they see bullying occur. Some include:
- A series of fantastic cartoon videos designed for children to learn about bullying: https://www.stopbullying.gov/kids/webisodes
- Designed for elementary school students to learn about bullying prevention and ways to take action: https://pacerkidsagainstbullying.org/
At the Elizabeth Lee Black School, students and staff will be wearing orange in honor of Unity Day. Why don’t you?
On a personal note, after graduation Ryan told me that he had been bullied at school. I asked him for details. He was not forthcoming, so I ended the discussion. Looking back, I wonder now if some of his intense anxiety about going to school was because of bullying. I will never know….