Taking action during Bullying Prevention Month

This October is the 10th anniversary of National Bullying Prevention Month. Bullying was rated as adults’ number one children’s health concern in the annual NPCH Top 10 Report. Although many states have enacted laws requiring bullying policies in schools, defining bullying and determining the appropriate response to bullying can be challenging for schools.

In a 2012 National Poll on Children’s Health, we asked adults for their perspectives on defining behaviors that might be considering bullying. Over half of adults said that embarrassing or humiliating a student (62%) and spreading rumors about a student (59%) is definitely bullying. 81% said schools should take action if a student embarrasses or humiliates another student and 76% said schools should take action when a student spreads rumors about another student. Read the full report - Bullying: When should schools take action?

Defining and punishing bullying is even more challenging for schools when the bullying happens online. In a 2015 NPCH Report, 45% of parents said sharing a photo altered to make a classmate appear fatter is definitely cyberbullying, and 35% said schools should respond with detention. 65% of parents said posting online rumors that a student had sex at school is definitely cyberbullying, and 21% said schools should respond by referring to law enforcement.

Consequences for cyberbullying: Parent views on how schools should respond

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Bullying prevention initiatives can play an important role in promoting the health and safety of all children, both physically and mentally. For more information on National Bullying Prevention Month, or to find out how you can get involved, visit