The Good, the Bad, and Where We Go From Here
By Dru Ahlborg BRRC Executive Director
As we come to a close for 2021, it is a great time for reflection, to look around and take stock of where we are, and to look forward to goals and possible answers. For Bullying Recovery Resource Center (BRRC) 2021 was a year of tremendous growth and opportunity. A few highlights of our charity has experienced would include:
- Funding for a Community Outreach Program. Thank you to Colorado 1000 for believing in us, seeing the need to provide our services to many more families across the state, and for the tenacity of your fundraising efforts.
- BRRC participated in the passing of Jack and Cait’s law in Colorado. Several things this law addresses include: the CDE will use a stakeholder process when updating the Model Bullying Policy and include parents of bullied children, differentiate between conflict and bullying, differentiate between harassment and bullying, and to clarify the role of cyberbullying during online instruction which may occur on or off school property.
- We have continued to partner with other community organizations to educate and bring awareness about bullying, youth mental health and suicide prevention.
- We have onboarded a record number of families this fall in need of bullying education and advocacy services.
- The Connect Through Magic brought families, supporters, board members and community partners together for an afternoon of magic, games, superheroes, food and fun.
We are tremendously grateful to help so many families, to make progress on statewide legislative changes, and to continue to meet so many individuals and organizations who are passionate about stopping bullying and defending bullying targets.
It will probably come as very little surprise that bullying is on the rise. As a world we are dealing with much uncertainty, angst and fear. I believe all these things feed into creating a time where kindness and fairness seem to be in limited supply at times. As an organization who speaks to parents of bullying targets, we have noticed the following:
- Bullying is becoming more violent. The bullying we hear about the most is physical bullying and some of it is quite intense.
- Children with any kind of disability, especially those with autism or ADHD seem to be targeted at an increased rate.
- Some schools and school districts deal with bullying by either ignoring it or by treating it as conflict. Both of these methods are a failure and will create even further harm.
Additionally, recent data from the report, Students’ Experiences with Bullying, Hate Speech, Hate Crimes, and Victimization in Schools, provides some of the most recent data on bullying. A few of the findings include:
- Exposure to harassment and victimization can have lifelong consequences for student’ overall well-being if left unaddressed. These may include: depression, anxiety, involvement in interpersonal violence or sexual violence, substance abuse, poor social functioning, poor school performance, and poor attendance.
- Even youth who have observed and not participated in bullying behavior report significantly more feelings of helplessness and less sense of connectedness and support from responsible adults.
- School officials were aware of students being bullied regularly in about 30 percent of schools and occasionally in about 64 percent of schools.
- Students in middle school were more likely to be bullied than high school students.
- Students in schools with 300 or fewer student were more likely to report being bullied than were students in schools with 1,000 or more students.
- Fewer than one half of all bullied students (44% in school year 2018-2019) reported the bullying to a teacher or another adult at school.
Where Do We Go From Here?
BRRC knows the devastation bullying has on families and communities. We have trudged that path and know how lonely, frightening and despairing it can be. We know that bullying should not be addressed or negotiated, but it must be STOPPED. Here is what we plan to do and how you can help:
- BRRC will be embarking on a community outreach program to partner with pediatricians, crisis centers and victim advocates. We want to provide education and BRRC as a resource for these partners that support children and families.
- We will be needing volunteers in the new year. Volunteers will be contacting our new partners to provide them with materials and information about BRRC. As soon as we roll out the program, volunteer opportunities will be made available through the BRRC website, through email, newsletters and social media.
- We will be training more advocates to respond to families in crisis and provide them with the support and tools they need to help the target of bullying.
We need you to continue to grow and reach more families who need our help. Please consider recognizing Bullying Recovery Resource Center as you wrap up the year and participate in end of the year giving. Your gift gives the opportunity for hope, education and advocacy for bullying targets.