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NEA ramps up National Bullying Prevention Month: identify, intervene, advocate

Eskelsen García: ‘One caring adult can make a world of difference to a bullied child

WASHINGTON - October 07, 2015 -

Recognizing the enormous physical, emotional and academic toll that bullying can take on students, the National Education Association, during National Bulling Prevention Month, is ramping up efforts to raise awareness and engage all adults—especially among educators—in stopping bullying whenever or where it occurs and to make the nation’s schools and classrooms safe, bully-free environments for all students.

“The bullying statistics are startling,” said NEA President Lily Eskelsen García. “Bullying can come in many forms, can happen anywhere, and someone always gets hurt. We know that one caring adult can make a world of difference to a bullied child. Too often overlooked is the role that education support professionals—school bus drivers, paraeducators, office employees, food service workers, and other educators—play in identifying and intervening when bullying occurs, and advocating for bullied students. Teachers, counselors and other school employees are united in addressing this problem.”

Nearly one in three U.S. students report being bullied during the school year, and seven out of ten young adults and children are victim to cyberbullying every day, according the National Center for Educational Statistics. More than half of bullying situations stop when a caring adult intervenes, but even with a 25 percent rise in anti-bullying and bystander programs throughout the United States in the past five years, bullying is, sadly, not slowing down.

“Bullying in schools doesn’t just occur in the classroom; it happens on school buses and bus stops and in many areas education support professionals work and monitor,” said Janet Eberhardt, the 2015 NEA ESP of the Year. “In many situations, an education support professional is that one caring adult in a student’s life. That’s why it's so important that ESPs stand up, take the bully-free pledge, and get informed.”

The National Education Association has a long-standing commitment to preventing bullying. Its national campaign, “Bully Free: It Starts with Me,” provides caring adults with the tools and resources they need to provide solace and support for the bullied students, asking the right questions, and to take the appropriate actions to stop the bullying. More than 70,000 adults have taken the pledge and those who have pledged will make themselves known as individuals who will listen carefully to the student who comes to them with a concern about bullying. They also pledge to take action to stop the bullying.

For National Bullying Prevention Month, NEA also prepared a video, “One Caring Adult: Stand Up!,” which speaks to the role that one caring adult can make for a bullied student. The video is part of NEA’s tools intended to help educators know how to identify bullying, intervene in a bullying incident, and advocate for bullied students. NEA also will engage in social media with a number of digital ads and graphics aimed raising public awareness about bullying in school and remind the public the role that educators play in preventing bullying.

Take Nancy Burke, a special education instructional paraprofessional from Massachusetts, who in one digital ads notes, “Education support professionals are often the first to see bullying behavior or notice changes in students’ moods.” NEA is urging policymakers at every level to allocate more resources so that educators like Nancy are well positioned to intervene and help prevent bullying.

“We can create a bully-free nation,” added Eskelsen García. “We’ve got the will, the research, and the resources. Parents, families and educators are on the same team. The good news is by working together, we can create safe, bully-free environments for all students. We urge the public to take the pledge now because bully-free, starts with me.”

The Bully Free: It Starts with Me pledge reads:
I agree to be identified as a caring adult who pledges to help bullied students.
I will listen carefully to all students who seek my help and act on their behalf to put an immediate stop to the bullying.
I will work with other caring adults to create a safe learning environment for all the students in my school.
Sign the pledge and share with other caring adults by visiting

For more information on “Bully Free: It Starts With Me”:
Follow us on twitter at @NEAMedia
Keep up with the conversation at #bullyfree

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional employee organization, representing nearly 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers. Learn more at

CONTACT: Miguel Gonzalez  (202) 822-7823,