The words Spread Kindness Like Confetti over an illustration of four women wearing bright colored clothes. Two of the women are wearing headscarves. All four seem to be chatting happily.

Anti-bullying resources for high schoolers

Welcome back, Superheroes! The month of October is filled with several exciting happenings (Fall break! Halloween!) but it is also the month when we honor the National Bullying Prevention campaign. Founded in 2006 by PACER’S National Bullying Prevention Center, this campaign serves to unite communities throughout the nation through education and awareness of bullying prevention.

In my last post, I discussed the detrimental effects bullying has on high students, and promised to follow up with some great community resources, classroom activities and lesson plans, and suggestions we can all use to support our students and promote inclusivity. Read on to find out more!

PACER’S lesson plans & classroom activities

The National Bullying Prevention Center website has numerous materials for educators to use to promote kindness, acceptance and inclusion in their classrooms. Their 4-week Student Activity Kit is packed with activities centered around weekly themes such as learning how kindness and inclusion can help prevent bullying and identifying ways in which students can continue to create a more accepting world. In addition, educators can order free Unity Day posters to decorate their classrooms with. They also offer Classroom Tool Kits that include oodles of fun and engaging activities and materials for all K-12 classrooms – so pass the link along to any other superheroes you know. Lastly, don’t forget to wear orange on Unity Day (October 19th) to send a visible message of unity, kindness, acceptance and inclusion to remind students that they are not alone. 

Community resources

Even though we are superheroes, we cannot be with our students all hours of the day. Fortunately, there are great community resources that offer support for teens. Here are a couple:

Teen Lifeline. Teens can call Teen Lifeline 24/7/365, or they can text weekdays 12 p.m.-9 p.m. and weekends 3 p.m.-9 p.m. Peer Counseling is also available 3 p.m.-9 p.m. every day. If a teen resides in Maricopa County, they can call/text (602) 248-8336. If a teen resides outside of Maricopa County, they can call/text (800) 248-8336. Check out the Teen Lifeline website for more information and support. 

Oneᐧnᐧten. This nonprofit charitable organization is dedicated to providing a supportive and safe space where LGBTQ youth can heal, learn tools to improve self-esteem and self-acceptance, and confidently rise to their full potential. The organization provides various resources and programs for teens, parents and community members. Check out the Oneᐧnᐧten website for more information and support. 

Advice from current high school students

Taking inspiration from the peer-counseling offered through Teen Lifeline, I asked my students to share tips and tricks they utilize to combat the effects of bullying. Many students use guided meditation and mindfulness activities such as this one to alleviate stress and anxiety. Students also stressed the importance of self-care. Self-care ideas include writing a gratitude list, drinking herbal (non caffeinated) tea and listening to your favorite music. A fellow teacher suggested creating a class activity/assignment for students to create their own self-care checklists (Thanks for the idea, Milt!), and so I will be sharing these posters from Pinterest for inspiration and guidance. Lastly, many students spoke openly about the importance of seeking professional counseling support to strengthen self-acceptance and self-worth. Remember, in learning you will teach, and in teaching you will learn.

I am beyond honored to work in such an incredibly kind, supportive and inclusive profession, and I greatly admire your commitment to ensuring our students feel seen and heard. I am also excited to work through the 4-Week Student Activity Kit with my Seniors this month, and I will be sure to include updates in my upcoming posts. In the meantime, spread kindness around like confetti and wear orange on October 19th!

About the author

Ashley Burkart is a Senior STEM Teacher at Bioscience High School in Phoenix. STEM research was her first passion as she holds a Masters in Biomedical Science from Midwestern University. When she isn’t teaching tomorrow’s leaders, she is either hanging out with her dogs, Raven and Bailey, or hiking the beautiful mountains of Arizona. 

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