The End of an Era: Bullying as part of the past, not our future.

Blog by Rebecca Tweneboah UNITED SIKHS NY legal intern

Bullying is no longer going to be considered our nations’ most accepted pasttime, according to President Barack Obama, when he kicked off the Bullying Prevention Conference with a speech at the White House on March 10, 2011.  To view the speech click here. http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/03/10/president-obama-first-lady-white-house-conference-bullying-prevention.

The First Lady expressed how this particular issue hits close to home because of their own two children, and the fear every parent has that their child is being bullied at school.  She emphasized that the burden of dealing with bullying is not only for the parents to bear, but the responsibility extends to all of us, especially teachers and other students.  It is our job as adults to lead by example and show our children the appropriate way to treat people.

President Obama focused on how and to what extent bullying affects young people in this country.  Statistics show one-third of middle school and high school students reported being bullied; three million students reported being pushed, shoved kicked or even spit on; and bullying causes increased school absences.  Unfortunately, bullyings’ reach has extended beyond the school gates into the homes of many children, via cyber-bullying, giving bullied kids no relief from the attacks.  The ‘bullied’ are mostly those perceived as being different in the eyes of students, whether they are of a different race, ethnicity, have different religious beliefs, or are of a different sexual orientation than the masses.  Regardless of these differences, the goal for the President and the conference is to create an environment where all kids feel like they belong.  It is going to take the cooperation of everyone in order to realize this type of change.  The PTA has already lended its support through a new campaign aimed at getting information into the hands of parents.  MTV also stepped up with its new tv campaign that speaks out against bullying, in a language that children can understand.  Students, teachers and parents at the local level have taken a stand against bullying, and the President was pleased to acknowledge these accomplishments.  However, he emphasized that there is still a long ways to go and that the conference is about creating an environment where all of our children can thrive.  President Obama recognized that children are going to make mistakes, it is part of growing up, but at the very least we must teach them the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.

UNITED SIKHS collected data in the community regarding bullying and focusing on how it effects Sikh children and we came across some shocking results.  Our research shows that of the roughly one-third of children who experience bullying in school, over 50 percent of those children are Sikhs.  Based off this information and personal accounts of bullied Sikh children, UNITED SIKHS began a Bullying Prevention Initiative.  This Initiative attempts to inform other children about the Sikh faith and explain the harmful effects bullying has not only on the child being bullied but on the bully him/herself.  UNITED SIKHS hopes Bullying Prevention Initiatives such as this one will dispel fear, othering and hate that is at the root of such biased based bullying. Through our Bullying Prevention Initiative we also hope to create an effective program that eradicates bullying through education, awareness, empowerment, and accountability. UNITED SIKHS will work to create safe spaces for not only Sikh youth, but all youth at school, on the playground, on the computer, so youth no longer fear being bullied or feel the need to be a bully.

One Comment

  1. Great informative article written.
    thanks for the post.