The Potential of Powerful Partnerships to Stop Bullying

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by TROUP

The following is preview of the first few paragraphs from a new article I’ve written for StandUp Magazine.  Keep your eyes open for the complete article in October.  Visit http://Standup-Magazine.com for more info.

“Instead of focusing on their individual agendas, collaborative partnerships establish common goals. In order to address problems that lie beyond any agency’s exclusive purview, but which concern them all, partners agree to pool resources, jointly plan, implement, and evaluate new services and procedures, and delegate individual responsibility for the outcomes of their joint efforts.” – Atelia I. Melaville with Martin J. Blank, What It Takes, Washington DC, Education and Human Services Consortium.

In honor of National Bullying Prevention Month, here are some statistics that indicate just how pervasive bullying is in the digital age –

  • Roughly 30% of all students in the U.S. are regularly involved in bullying, either as the victim or the perpetrator.
  • The highest percentage of bullying incidents involves students in grades 6 through 10.
  • 77% of students have experienced “verbal bullying,” which includes harassment, infliction of mental anguish or distress, and discriminatory or hate speech based on the victim’s race, gender, sexual identity, religion, etc.
  • Of the 77% of students who experienced verbal bullying, 14% had a “severe or bad reaction.”  These reactions include low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts or behavior.
  • 80% of all U.S. high school students have “encountered being bullied in some fashion online. These growing numbers are being attributed to youth violence including both homicide and suicide.”
  • 35% of all teenagers say they have been threatened online on at least one occasion.
  • 50% of teens report having used the Internet to write or share something intended to be mean or hurtful to at least one of their peers (All facts and figures provided by isafe.org and BullyingStatistics.com).

When aggregated, these statistics illustrate that bullying is a systemic problem in the U.S. – one that touches every student and teenager at one time or another.  As with any complex social issue, stemming the tide of bullying requires a sustained, multi-pronged movement that simultaneously engages and unites parents, students, educators, administrators, advocates, law enforcement personnel, government officials and corporate leaders.

With such a wide range of concerned parties, getting everyone on the same page is no small feat.  If you look at other pervasive social problems, collaborative opportunities frequently fall off track because the key players can’t agree on an understanding of the problem, let alone the optimal way to intervene.  Despite these challenges, partnerships have tremendous potential to create positive change when executed effectively.  Whether in politics or activism, I always encourage collaboration over competition.  I’m fortunate to apply this on a daily basis to my work on AT&T’s diverse partnership with the Trevor Project.

Though appearing last in my preceding list of key players, corporations aren’t any less important than others in the anti-bullying movement.  On the contrary, they MUST play a very active, collaborative role if the movement is to be successful.  TROUP there it is!

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