Bullying 2022

Together, We Can Put a Stop to Bullying

By Ashley Ferraro,

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and now is the best time to familiarize yourself and your family with anti-bullying resources. It’s also a great time to educate your children about the consequences of bullying for victims, bystanders, and those participating in bullying.

Bullying can be detrimental to a child’s ability to learn, develop, and function. In recent decades, more attention has been shifted toward school bullying resources, such as bullying prevention programs and victim assistance. Despite the best efforts of schools and lawmakers, bullying is still a reality for many children across America, and right here in Parkland and Coral Springs.

Plus, with internet access increasing in the past couple of decades, we’ve been forced to navigate a more novel type of harassment called cyberbullying. Unfortunately, cyberbullying has proven to be highly problematic due to the level of anonymity it can seemingly offer perpetrators. However, many kids falsely believe their actions behind a screen cannot be traced back to them.

Cyberbullying might look like sending threatening text messages, using fake social media profiles to harass the victim, or hacking into someone’s gaming or social profiles. There are many different faces of cyberbullying, but any method is far from anonymous.

If authorities get involved, cell phone records and IP addresses can easily be obtained to trace online activity. It’s crucial that your child is aware of the risks of participating in cyberbullying and that it can get them in trouble with their school and law enforcement. Unlike other states, Florida explicitly defines “cyberbullying” as a crime.

Bullying, in any facet, is a form of harassment and stalking. In the state of Florida, bullying is a misdemeanor crime that can lead to fines and jail time. Florida statute also requires all schools to adopt and enforce anti-bullying policies. With one of the country’s most rigorous anti-bullying legislative agendas, Florida is becoming a safer place for children to learn.

Organizations that operate with the mission to create a healthy and safe environment for students through anti-bullying efforts:

Who to call if yourself or someone you know is
a victim of bullying and needs help:

Other methods for anonymously reporting a crime, including bullying:

  • Go to browardschools.com and click on
    “Report a Crime”
  • Text CRIMES (or 274637) and begin the message
    with “SBBC” followed by a space, and then your
    message
  • Email school911@browardschools.com with
    the subject line “Crime”
  • Download the SaferWatch App

For all parents, make your children aware of the risks associated with bullying. Encourage your child to be an upstander rather than a bystander. And if you suspect your child might be a victim of bullying, get in touch with your child’s school, law enforcement, or a family therapist.

For more information and resources to prevent and remedy bullying, please visit
www.browardschools.com/anti-bullying.

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