Thirty-five percent of fifth-graders, 26 percent of eighth-graders and 16 percent of high school students report being the victims of some type of bullying, according to two 2011 studies conducted by the University of Delaware Center for Drug and Alcohol Studies.
As part of National Bullying Prevention Month activities in October, the Delaware Children’s Department is sponsoring a variety of activities as part of Wilmington company SHOUT b cause, LLC’s No Bullying Delaware (NBD) campaign.
“Every child has the right to feel safe from bullying whether at home or at school, and it’s our responsibility to provide them with as many tools as we can to help them,” said Lt. Gov. Matt Denn, who advocated for landmark cyberbullying legislation in Delaware.
“Our goal is to reduce and eventually eliminate bullying which threatens our children’s well-being and their futures. Instead we want to foster an environment in which children can grow, thrive and feel safe,” said Vivian Rapposelli, secretary for the Delaware Children’s Department. “We’re pleased to partner with this local company to provide help and hope through positive messaging to both younger and older children.”
The No Bullying Delaware campaign uses Jurdy, a fuzzy green mascot/anti-bullying hero, to speak to young students about bullying. Younger students hear messages like “Kind is cool” and if they or someone else is bullied, to “tell an adult.” Messaging about bullying prevention is communicated to older students through the use of text message like abbreviations such as btw - bullying that’s weak, or bff – bullies fizzle fast.
The NBD mascot Jurdy, will make an appearance Saturday, Oct. 27, at 9 a.m., at the Sea Witch Festival parade, Rehoboth Beach.
The Children’s Department will also participate in an anti-bullying conference Friday, Oct. 26, at Delaware State University, which is sponsored by the Delaware Department of Education and the Delaware Bullying Prevention Association.
Earlier in the month, DSCYF through SHOUT b cause, distributed posters and table tents with the NBD message, and wristbands to all Delaware high school football and volleyball players with the help of the Delaware Association of Athletic Directors. Additionally, NBD banners were placed at the Dover and Christiana malls, movie theatre ads have been running and an NBD billboard is located on I-95 for the thousands of motorists who travel that roadway to see.
Tragically, bullying has a ripple effect and many of these children report significant suffering from bullying including feelings of sadness, depression, use of prescription painkillers, and in some cases attempting suicide. Fifteen percent of high school students who reported being bullied said they stayed home from school because they were afraid.
Call the Attorney General’s hotline at 1-800-220-5414 or dial 9-1-1 for emergency response. For more information, please visit www.kids.delaware.gov.