In recognition of National Bullying Prevention Month this October, Alexandria is hosting a series of activities through the Mayor’s Campaign to End Bullying. The campaign works to raise awareness about how to identify, respond to, and prevent bullying.
“Here in Alexandria, we have zero tolerance when it comes to bullying; kindness is a core value of our beloved, historic city,” said Mayor Allison Silberberg. “Bullying is a national issue that concerns us all, and its negative effects can last a lifetime. I ask everyone to learn the facts about bullying and to please join us as we stand together to ensure our City is a bully-free, accepting, and compassionate place for all.”
During October, Alexandrians are asked to wear green and declare their support for a Bully-Free Alexandria. Mayor Silberberg will issue a proclamation at City Council’s meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, at 7 p.m. Additional activities include sports days, family nights, school and recreation center activities, a youth poster contest, a citywide Unity Day, and more. Participants at each activity will have the opportunity to pledge their support and receive information and resources on how they can help reduce bullying.
Bullying is the most common form of violence in our society. More than 70 percent of young people nationwide say they have seen bullying in their schools, and 30 percent have admitted to bullying others. According to data from the 2014 Youth Risk Behavior Survey in Alexandria, nearly 25 percent of eighth graders surveyed and more than 13 percent of 10th and 12th graders surveyed reported being bullied at school. Membership in either bully or victim groups is associated with dropping out of school, poor social development, criminal activity and other negative long-term consequences.
This year’s Bullying Prevention Month activities are sponsored by The Mayor’s Campaign to End Bullying, which was started in 2014 by former mayor William D. Euille. The purpose of the campaign, sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, is to wipe out bullying in our nation’s schools and communities. Over the last two years, residents, youth leaders, community organizations, City agencies, and the Alexandria City Public Schools have worked together to increase awareness of the negative effects of bullying and to prevent bullying among Alexandria’s youth.