October 2021: Bullying Prevention Month

WHEREAS, bullying is physical, verbal, sexual, or emotional harm or intimidation intentionally directed at a person or group of people; and,


WHEREAS, bullying occurs in neighborhoods, playgrounds, schools, and online; and,


WHEREAS, targets of bullying are more likely to acquire physical, emotional, and learning problems, and students who are repeatedly bullied often fear such activities as riding the bus, going to school, and attending community activities; and,


WHEREAS, in Michigan, almost one of every four high school students reported being bullied at school and almost one in five reported being bullied online, according to a confidential 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, conducted every year by the Michigan Department of Education; and,  


WHEREAS, over the years, the State of Michigan has made numerous efforts to enact anti-bullying laws that protect our students, such as making cyberbullying a crime if the victim of the bullying was harmed as a result of posts made online, and the Matt Epling Safe School Law, which requires school districts to implement anti-bullying policies that include a process to investigate reported incidents and inform school boards of the scope of these incidents every year; and,


WHEREAS, Michigan still ranks top among the states with the biggest bullying problems in the nation, which shows we must continue to work to strengthen and enforce anti-bullying laws to ensure safe, supportive environments for our children to learn and prosper; and,


WHEREAS, during this month, we must raise awareness and encourage discussion of bullying as a school community and work to identify, develop, and promote solutions to this critical issue that affects the victims' health, safety, and education; and,


WHEREAS, wearing orange on Unity Day, October 23, 2021, is one way we can come together to spread the message of hope and support for those who have experienced or are experiencing bullying and show our state's belief that no child should ever experience bullying;


NOW, THEREFORE, I, Gretchen Whitmer, governor of Michigan, do hereby proclaim October 2021 as Bullying Prevention Month in Michigan and urge schools, students, parents, and community organizations to unite toward kindness, acceptance, and inclusion in our schools.