According to a recent study, students who have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder are more prone to experiencing bullying among their peers and even from authority figures than are children who do not have this diagnosis.
In common terms, cyberbullying is a form of bullying that takes place when kids face threats, putdowns, discrimination or derogatory language via email, social media or other forms of electronic communication.
It is an unfortunate reality that, even with an emphasis on respecting and appreciating one another's differences, kids in Mobile, Alabama, who are perceived as different or as weak are often the targets of bullying. In particular, students who have diagnosed disabilities report bullying at a relatively high frequency.
Many schools and communities across the country have been posting and printing the phrase "#BeKind" on various media. Schools have also otherwise been communicating this message both to their students and to the broader public.
According to statistics compiled as part of a government awareness campaign, middle school is the place where most students experience bullying. In high school, bullying seems to trail off somewhat; of course, by that time, it may be too late for a victim of bullying to make a full recovery.
Studies on the effects of bullying have already shown that getting picked on affects a child's mental health. During childhood, a bullying victim is likely to deal with depression and poor self-image, even to the point of being prone to suicide.
There is no one-size-fits-all description of a typical bullying victim, despite the fact that the entertainment media often portrays a victim as small and thin or, in the case of a girl, a person with a less than perfect figure or with some odd social quirks. The reality is, and it bears repeating often, that anyone can be the victim of bullying just as anyone can be a bully.
Thankfully, gone are the days in which bullying at school was just seen as a fact of life that kids just had to live with. While many people did in fact work through and overcome bullying issues, that does not make the practice right or acceptable.
For generations, Alabamans have known that schools and even offices and other workplaces can be cruel environments. Often, one person or a small group uses what power and influence they have to belittle or degrade others whom they see as weaker.
October is Anti-Bullying Awareness month, and many states have taken action by passing laws addressing this important issue. Alabama is one of these states that passed a law last spring in which school districts were to comply with certain anti-bullying guidelines. However, the school districts still haven't received the instructions about how they are to do so.