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Choose Kindness, Acceptance, Inclusion: National Bullying Prevention Month

October 18, 2018

This month we observe National Bullying Prevention Month. The Utah Attorney General’s Office urges Utahns to choose kindness, acceptance, and inclusion.

Bullying impacts children of all ages. According to the National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics, up to a third of students in the United States report being bullied at school. Additionally, in an increasingly digital age, cyberbullying has become a significant problem.

Bullying can have long-lasting, detrimental effects on a child’s mental and physical health. A child who is bullied is more likely to experience depression and anxiety, decreased academic achievement, substance abuse, and suicide.

Bullying prevention starts with you. Be kind to others and be proactive in shifting the prevalence of bullying in our schools and communities. Bullying is a behavioral style which must be – and can be – addressed through education and support.

Encourage children to speak to a trusted adult if they are bullied or see others being bullied. Teach children to stand appropriately to kids who are bullying others. Most importantly, teach kindness and urge children to reach out to others who are being bullied.

Below are some additional resources to help prevent bullying:

Download the SafeUT App. This app, which the AG’s Office helped create, is available to students and parents and provides real-time help to youth through texting and a private space to submit tips about bullies in their schools. 

Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition is a local non-profit that provides training for students, parents, and educators. Their goal is to end bullying through kindness. 

Utah Parent Center provides information and resources to help parents better understand bullying, its impact, and strategies for prevention. 

Utah Legislation specifically addresses bullying in the state as well as requirements to educators about their role in creating bully-free environments.

If you see something, say something. Be kind and be part of the change. Preventing bullying starts with you.

The SafeUT app: together we make a difference

Originally created in 2015 to address the rise of teen suicide in the state, the use of the SafeUT app continues to be an effective way for students to connect with someone who can help. In addition, the ability to send anonymous tips adds one more layer of safety to our schools.

The number of students reaching out increases every year and 2018 experienced the highest rate of use yet.

  • 534 potential school threat tips
  • 218 tips about students with guns
  • 175 tips about planned school attacks
  • 68 tips about “weapons”
  • 61 tips about knives
  • 12 tips about explosives

Additionally, between July of 2017 and October of 2018, clinicians responded to over 1,500 tips or conversations from students who were considering taking their own lives.

For more on the SafeUT app and its impact in Utah, check out Chris Jones’ article from KUTV: SafeUT app is saving lives daily; 1,500 tips on suicide contemplation in 15 months.

The SafeUT program was developed with funding from the Utah State Legislature in collaboration with the Utah Attorney General’s Office, Utah State Office of Education, Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition, and the University Neuropsychiatric Institute

The SafeUT App is a statewide service that provides real-time interactions straight from your smartphone. Licensed clinicians, from the University Neuropsychiatric Institute at the University of Utah Health, are available 24/7 to respond to all incoming chats, texts, and calls. They provide support and crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and referral services. Additionally, students can submit confidential tips to school administrators on bullying, threats, or violence. 

Visit https://healthcare.utah.edu/uni/safe-ut/ to learn more.

Change the Culture: Help Stop Bullying

October 31, 2018

Bullying is an age-old reality, but it doesn’t have to be.

Throughout the month of October, schools, communities, and organizations across the nation have been working together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of how bullying impacts children of all ages as part of National Bullying Prevention Month.

Stop Bullying, a federal government initiative, reminds us that “kindness is one of the most significant contributors to positive school climate.” In fact, when adults are quick in responding to bullying, students learn that behavior is unacceptable which can help stop bullying over time. 

The question is: what can Utah do to help change the culture throughout the entire year?

Know where you can find help. Better information and knowing which resources are available provides opportunities for all of us to be proactive in shifting the prevalence of bullying in our schools and communities. 

Here are a few ways to do that.

Download the SafeUT App. This app, which the AG’s Office helped create, is available to students and parents and provides real-time help to youth through texting and a private space to submit tips about bullies in their schools. 

Utah Anti-Bullying Coalition is a local non-profit that provides training for students, parents, and educators. Their goal is to end bullying through kindness. 

Utah Parent Center provides information and resources to help parents better understand bullying, its impact, and strategies for prevention. 

Utah Legislation specifically addresses bullying in the state as well as requirements to educators about their role in creating bully-free environments.

Bullying is a behavior, but behaviors CAN change. 

Be a part of the change.

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