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Preventing bullying in schools, workplace

October is Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. October 6bullying-2014 was Blue Shirt Day, World Day of Bullying Prevention. It’s also the perfect time to learn about efforts to reduce and prevent bullying.

Bullying is no longer only a playground concern. The negative psychological effects of bullying occur in the schoolyard, on college campuses, online and even in the workplace.

David Maxfield, coauthor of the books Crucial Conversations and Influencer, reported that 96 percent of American workers experienced workplace bullying to varying degrees. Maxfield, an expert in corporate culture and success, noticed that the 80 percent of bullies affect at least five people at their workplace.

To worsen matters, bullies are more likely to remain in their job than the victims.

Bullying affects all parties involved. It is linked with negative impacts on mental health, substance abuse and suicide. Adults and children who are bullied often face depression, anxiety, health complaints and decreased academic and work performance.

Kids who bully other children can develop issues with drug and alcohol abuse, violence and criminal convictions.

Illinois recently passed a law supporting bullying prevention in the classroom. The law, sponsored by State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), curbs school bullying and empowers victims by requiring school districts to adopt robust anti-bullying policies.

“A society where rights are respected and diverse contributions are encouraged doesn’t spring up overnight,” Senator Steans said. “It starts with creating an environment that allows all children, with their many differences, to grow into their full potential.”

School officials will also gain the ability to discipline students who use non-school computers to bully their classmates. State Senator Ira Silverstein’s (D-Chicago) cyberbullying prevention law is a response to the rising use of social media as a tactic to bully children.

There are a number of ways to participate in bullying prevention this month and throughout the year:

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