Bullying gets a lot of attention these days. Over the past several years the anti-bullying cause has also gathered its share of celebrity advocates. No one should doubt the value of that particular spotlight or the sincerity of those who help direct it. In fact, the intensity and scope of that illumination has helped raise needed awareness and educate a great many people while also supporting the efforts of those on the frontlines of the bullying epidemic.
Most important of all, this growing focus and the information and communications it generates have, in what we hope is a large and growing number of cases, improved the situation for the victims of the bully.
If there’s a concern, it’s that spotlights sometimes move. Attention has a way of shifting. New and important causes come into being. But the bully and the social and personal devastation he or she creates don’t go away.
The threat level is raised today for some of the highly dangerous behaviors.
While there are some very strong similarities and relationships between gang behavior and bullying, there are also the important differences. For example, all bullies aren’t gang members and, conversely, all gang members aren’t bullies — though a high percentage may be. Even more telling gangs exist and thrive in places you can’t even imagine or don’t want to. But bullies are spread out across the human landscape in even greater numbers. And they exist within every thread of our social fabric.
From classrooms, athletic fields, boardrooms, shop floors and government buildings to movie sets, faculty lounges, seminaries, construction sites and homes somebody is getting bullied. And from the local and national political arena, the news media and the entertainment industry to the cubicle, the bus stop and everywhere in between, somebody is doing the bullying.
That means we’ve all seen bullies in action. Many of us have been the victims. Some of us have been the perpetrator. Thanks to all the attention being focused on bullies and the issues that surround them, most of us are getting the information we need. But if we’re raising children in this culture of bullying or if we’re part of the village that helps, we all need to understand that the encounter with bullying, if it has not already arrived in your home, is on the way.
Bobby Kipper and Bud Ramey have co-authored two books and numerous articles on the crisis in youth violence plaguing our culture, addressing “best practices” for making a difference in the gang crisis and bullying epidemic that is impacting an entire generation. Over 4,400 young people committed suicide last year, largely due to the bullying epidemic. Their books, No BULLIES : Solutions for Saving Our Children from Today’s Bully and No COLORS : 100 Ways to Stop Gangs from Taking Away Our Communities, offer advocacy for at-risk youth.
Bobby Kipper, Director and Founder of the National Center for the Prevention of Community Violence, is a career law enforcement officer with extensive experience in the area of preventing youth and community violence nationwide. His background includes working on a number of key national initiatives with the White House, Congress, and the Department of Justice.
Bud Ramey is the 2010 Public Affairs Silver Anvil Award winner of the Public Relations Society of America—the highest public affairs recognition in the world. His grassroots public affairs and humanitarian successes and advocacy for at-risk youth stretch across three decades.