School has been back in session for a little over a month now, kids are finally back to their in-person classes. And while many have been eager for this return, some have been dreading it. Statistics show that 20.2% of students report being bullied, some of which are even physically bullied! What is even more worrisome to parents is that most of these incidents aren’t even reported according to the National Bullying Prevention Center.
As a part of Bullying Prevention Month activities, On Earth Peace is launching a seminar series for caregivers and educators all around the US. The monthly series labeled “Children as Peacemakers: Equipping Resilient Leaders,” plans to address common issues and worries among parents and teachers regarding raising their children. We wish to guide parents through their journeys of raising resilient leaders that are inclusive, compassionate, engaged, and aware of the world around them. This month, the seminar will focus on Bullying Prevention. Equipping parents with the necessary tools to talk to their children about bullying, and teach them to talk about it. The seminar will shed a light on parents' rights at schools in instances of bullying.
Furthermore, statistics have indicated that children were more likely to get bullied because of their physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, and sexual orientation. For example, 70.1% of LGBTQ students report being verbally bullied. While, 28.9% report being physically bullied. This discriminatory behavior can be explained by many reasons including a lack of exposure to people from diverse backgrounds. And while increasing real-life exposure might not always be an accessible option, storytelling can be used to increase exposure to different people and foster feelings of empathy and compassion to those different from us.
Books such as “Simran Kaur: World Traveler” expose children from the US to children from different backgrounds, it gives them perspective on the feelings of estrangement and loneliness children feel when they are left out or rejected because of their background. These books can also help children from diverse backgrounds to gain a deeper appreciation of their uniqueness and find characters that they relate to. It can also help children start conversations with their parents and peers.
Storytelling is a disarming tool to address different issues with children. Thus, we created a story books guide of our Read Alouds that will help parents and educators start this conversation with kids around them:
Stories about bullying:
Stories on gender and identity:
Stories on Immigration, Migration and Refugees:
Stories on Anti-Racism & Social Justice: