Guest blogger Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas is the director of Not in Our School, a program that creates safe, accepting, and inclusive school communities. She’s challenging you to take the Not on Our Ground pledge, a growing movement with Adobe and the NBA champion Golden State Warriors against bullying, violence, and hatred. At Facing History and Ourselves, we encourage you to be an upstander in your community - so take action today.
National Anti-Bullying Week takes place in the United Kingdom 17th to 21st of November. This year's theme is "let's stop bullying for all."
Bullying—repeated aggressive behavior with an intent to hurt another person physically, socially, or mentally—is characterized by an imbalance of power between an instigator and a victim. As classroom educators, we know that bullying takes place in many places, from classrooms to online settings.
Adults often ask students to be upstanders, to speak out against bullying and other social problems, and to go against the tide. But we should also help students change the tide.This means changing social norms so that young people feel respected not when they degrade other students, but when they include others.
Students leave a Facing History classroom inspired by history—not paralyzed by it. They are inspired to learn more, to empathize, to speak up, and to advocate for change.
In partnership with The BULLY Project and other like-minded organizations, we are working with two Facing History alumnae whose study of history and the impact of choices people made have inspired them to petition the Oxford English Dictionary and Merriam Webster Dictionary to add the word upstander.
An important dialogue has started at Facing History about ways to use Facing History online tools to nurture civic behavior in the digital age. More and more our online tools are allowing for students to engage with one another all over the world. This has been especially important in trying out new resources such as Reporter, Bully and Freedom Riders, as well as Facing History online courses, have brought together international classrooms to share a common core of knowledge.