Students Can Give a Helping Hand to Prevent Bad Situations

National Bullying Prevention Month is every October and highlights an important issue that affects many students. According to, National Bullying Prevention and Awareness week was founded by PACER in 2006 and was expanded to an entire month in 2010.

According to, “Historically, bullying had been viewed as ‘a childhood rite of passage’ that ‘made kids tougher,’ but the reality has always been that bullying can leave devastating and often long-term effects such as a loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression for those involved.”

The lasting impact bullying has on individuals is one of the many reasons why National Bullying Prevention Month is so important to students.

According to, “During this month, many groups across the country will release new resources, campaigns, and efforts aimed at bringing awareness to the issue of bullying.”

High school counselor Valerie Powell feels students at Southeast Polk need to work together to prevent bullying in our community.

“We should all be aware that bullying does happen and the things we say or do can and do affect other peoples’ well being,” said Powell. “While one may be lucky and never feel as if they’ve been bullied, we should be aware that it does happen and try to help when we can, whether that is to stand up to the person bullying someone else, supporting the victim, or reporting it.”

One way that students and instructors are working to prevent bullying all year long is through the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program. MVP teaches lessons to underclassmen during advisement which are led by upperclassmen. They handle a variety of issues that affect teens, including bullying.

“MVP makes us look at different perspectives and makes people think about how they act around others and what they could do to help others and stand up for others,” said sophomore Campbell Crabb. “I feel like we always get the same programming throughout school, but the student-led approach makes it more approachable. Hearing it from upperclassmen makes you really want to listen to them.”

MVP lessons also encourage empathy and understanding among students. Senior Vincent Cupp is an MVP mentor.

“I think it’s important because it makes people consider situations they may have never seen and what to do if they encounter them,” said Cupp.

Bullying is a problem that needs to be taken seriously. According to, being the subject of bullying negatively affects students’ mental health, sleep, grades, and relationships.

“[Bullying] can negatively affect people’s mental health which can drag other things down with it,” said Cupp. 

Crabb agreed that students’ can be affected by bullying much more than others might realize.

“I know it impacts other people around me when they are feeling down and sometimes they [the bully] think they’re funny or joking but it can really hurt someone,” said Crabb.

There are many ways you can help students being bullied.

“If you’re aware of someone being bullied, you could do a few different things. If you’re comfortable doing so and depending on the type of bullying, you could communicate with the harasser that he or she needs to stop,” said Powell. “You should report it to an adult – teacher, counselor, principal. At SEP, you can also fill out a form online. This form is shared with the administration.”

This form can be found on the Southeast Polk website. To find it, click on the SCHOOLS tab and click on the “High School” link. From there, you can select a link titled “Report Bullying” in the sidebar.

This will take you to a page with a variety of information and resources including an online form you can fill out to report bullying. Another way to help stop bullying is by spreading awareness.

“It’s really important to address the issue in schools and communities so everyone can have a better understanding and improve people’s relationships with each other,” said Crabb.

Cupp believes getting to know students you wouldn’t normally spend time with is an important step to be a better ally and end bullying. This helps students to empathize with and support each other.

“Getting to know somebody can sway what you thought of them based off of an initial situation,” said Cupp.

During the month of October, please take part in National Bullying Prevention Month by learning how you can help if you or someone you know is being bullied and by supporting others. This could involve making sure you have an adult you can talk to, knowing where the online form is, or even just talking to someone new.