October is National Bullying Prevention Month: Nobody Asks to Be the Target of Bullying

Every October, schools and organizations across the country observe National Bullying Prevention Month. The goal: encourage communities to work together to stop bullying and cyberbullying by increasing awareness of the prevalence and impact of bullying on all children of all ages. For the month of October, we will highlight the voices of kids who have experienced bullying and those making a difference to prevent bullying. Today’s guest blogger is a 15-year-old girl who has experienced bullying since elementary school. In this post, she shares her story as well as some tips for others to consider helping prevent or stop bullying in its tracks.

October is National Bullying Prevention Month: Nobody Asks to Be the Target of Bullying


You never really know how bad bullying can be until you are the one being bullied. Bullying makes you feel completely helpless due to the fact that there are still few resources available for how to handle bullies online.  Schools can only do so much and the true bullies will seek out the tools to get you anonymously.  You hear about it all the time, or see it in the movies or TV shows but you never really know how scary it is until you are face-to-face with a bully yourself.


Like most kids my age, bullies have been present in my life since I was in elementary school. At a young age, I began to understand the negative impact some kids had on me and the power that their hurtful words had on me. It started when a girl from across the street asked everyone in our group to play except me and then they yelled awful things across the street from my house, loud enough for me to hear. It was during elementary school, 5th grade to be exact, that I tried to do something about it. It seemed that little could be done to prevent this behavior and that schools needed to better equip kids like me to know what to do.


I decided to start an organization called the Bully Proof Promise. The idea was simple. I would go to school events and sit at a table with a contract and a clipboard for signatures. Kids were invited to sign the contract with a promise to never bully a kid. In turn, they would get a bracelet with the promise on it. The bracelet was a hit because everyone wanted to have what the other kids had. Unfortunately, the promise did not continue on to middle school.

Middle school is when things really got scary for me. It went from verbal abuse to physical abuse. I became a target but had no idea why. I remember asking, “What could I possibly have done to deserve this?” No one sets out to be a target. You can’t really anticipate being a target.  It just happens, and when it does, it’s terrifying.


I was afraid to walk down the halls, wondering what was going to happen, who would be whispering and wondering if today would be the day that they made good on their threats.  You just never know. But then it happened, I was cornered and I was held down and I was humiliated in front of an entire class. Almost as painful, was the fact that other kids sat there and watched the attack and didn’t offer to help. The experience made me sad. Sad that someone would want to hurt and humiliate me. Sad that somehow, I was the kid they decided to hurt and humiliate and sad that I couldn’t just finish out the year like a normal kid. The best thing I did was reach out to my family, school counselors and the Police, for support. I needed advocates at home and at school and I needed to be brave enough to send a signal that this was not okay.


With my family, we decided that getting a professional therapist was important. I fell into a depression that was lonely, scary and overwhelming. This was something bigger than me, bigger than my parents and we all agreed that it was important to get help. It was a process and took a lot of work, but I focused on summer trips with my family and spent a lot of time with my older cousins who have also been down this road.

This year, I started my first year of high school. Like everyone else, I was so excited to start with a clean slate at a big beautiful new school. I went into high school having the best friend anyone could ask for, or so I thought. Over what should have been a silly argument turned into a mean girl nightmare.


My once best friend was talking about me to all my friends. She was starting rumors that were embarrassing. I had people say “ew” as I walked down the hallways. Others deflating balloons in my face. Then it turned online. She started posting personal attacks across a number of social sites and even though I had blocked her, other friends were letting me know. I felt attacked on every level but was not about to play victim and did what I could to communicate the situation to my parents, to document the online bullying for my school and to make sure that I had a solid group of friends who I could laugh with and be myself.

Through all of these events, I realized that I am not alone. That unfortunately, it is all too common for kids to experience bullying, you just don’t hear about it. It is embarrassing. It is scary. No one wants to be a snitch or appear weak by asking for help, but there are many like me that have experienced the loneliness and sadness that comes with being bullied. With my family, I learned firsthand how limited the resources are to protect kids. Just remember, you are not alone and sometimes telling people what you are going through reveals your true supporters.  I have picked up a couple tips and things to help you or at least help with what you are going through.

  1. Document Everything - If someone is bullying you online via Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or other sites, make sure to screenshot, save and print everything. Trust me, you need the evidence.

  2. Get Help - Reach out to someone at school whether it is a close teacher or the school counselor. Talk to your parents about the situation and don’t be afraid to ask for help from trusted adults.

  3. Don’t Add Fuel to the Fire - Be careful to not discuss the bullying situation with other kids, especially kids that you aren’t close to. This chatter behind the scenes can actually get back to the bully and make the situation worse.

  4. Avoid Sites That Allow Anonymous Posting - This is one of the most important things I can share. Sites that allow anonymous posts are targets for bullies and allow them to really get mean because it is harder to prove the source. Avoid sites like Thiscrush.com, Ask.fm and After School. It is much easier for a person to hide behind a screen so don’t give them this power.

  5. Don’t Fire Back - Meaning don’t say mean things or engage with the bully. You may be tempted to say hurtful things back but it won’t help your situation and puts you in the same position as them.

  6. Block the Person/s All Social Media, iMessage etc. - Make it hard for the bully to be able to reach you, contact, tag or target you online. Also, make sure they cannot see or comment on anything you have posted.

  7. Get Active - It is easy to tune out and withdraw socially. This is actually a very natural response but when times are tough, it is important to get involved in activities and surround yourself with fun friends.

All in all, being the target of bullying can be very hard to deal with. Many kids go through this and you are not alone. It is very important to tell someone about what is going on, whether it is a best friend, a family member, school counselor, anyone you are close to. Many kids develop depression when being bullied and need help. It is very dangerous and scary and hard to deal with but I cannot stress enough how important it is so talk to someone about it, someone who can help you. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!