Stop Bullying Handbook Reaches Over 2,000 Students in First Printing

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In response to headlines attributing several teen suicides to bullying, a new "Stop Bullying Handbook," created specifically for teens and tweens, was released Feb. 10 during National Stop Bullying Week. This is the first resource of its kind to guide teens and tweens in helping each other deal with this sensitive subject, and has already reached over 2,000 students.

In response to headlines attributing several teen suicides to bullying, a new "Stop Bullying Handbook," created specifically for teens and tweens, was released Feb. 10 during National Stop Bullying Week. This is the first resource of its kind to guide teens and tweens in helping each other deal with this sensitive subject, and has already reached over 2,000 students.

Bullying is a critical issue facing students today. Approximately 864,000 teens stay home one day a month because they fear for their safety and nearly 5.7 million kids and teens are bullies, have been bullied, or both. Too often, bullying leads to loss of self-esteem, depression and even suicide among victims, according to experts.

“The Stop Bullying Handbook guides teens and tweens in forming a Hey U G L Y Stop Bullying Task Force and connects them to the worldwide movement to end bullying," explained Betty Hoeffner, author of the handbook and president/co-founder of Hey UGLY, Inc. Hoeffner's organization helps teens and tweens counter bullying, obesity, racism and suicide by enabling students to become part of the solution. She worked with area students to come up with the structure for the handbook.

Task force members bond with each other through a series of questions and exercises that help them deal with stress and give them an outlet for expressing feelings through art and writing. Throughout the handbook, student task forces are encouraged to e-mail thoughts and suggestions to Hey, UGLY. Upon completion of the handbook, task force members receive certificates, T-shirts, ID cards and access to an exclusive Web site for use by registered task force members only.

By using the handbook, students learn:

  • The reasons people bully
  • To understand who the bully chooses to target and why
  • How to spot the most common forms of bullying -- verbal and physical abuse, social alienation, intimidation and cyber bullying
  • How to avoid and protect themselves and others from bullies
  • To take responsibility for their own bullying tendencies and how to choose to change their behavior
  • To understand and curb self bullying (negative self talk)
  • What to do when bullying happens to them
  • What to do if they see someone being bullied.

During a recent study, Dewey Cornell, an education professor at the University of Virginia, found that students do better when bullying isn't a threat. "As schools look for ways to improve academic performance, they cannot overlook the importance of a safe, supportive climate," Cornell said.

Students who have graduated from Hey U G L Y’s Stop Bullying Program have a lot to say about it.

"I think now that we've done Hey U G L Y we feel more like friends," explained 13-year-old Chloe. "We have higher self-esteem for one thing and we know how much it hurts another person to bully them."

"When you bully you kind of ruin yourself," said Brad. "You hurt yourself after you bully each time."

Fourteen year-old Maddy says, "I think we all changed. We all learned that it's really bad to bully and how it hurts each other, people and ourselves. Now we know not to do it anymore."

The dedication page in the handbook honors teens whose lives' were lost to suicide because of bullying. Ms. Hoeffner almost lost a teen that was very close to her to suicide and she has dedicated her life to helping youth have the tools to not feel so bad about themselves that they would resort to that.

For more information about the "Stop Bullying Handbook" and Hey U G L Y's Stop Bullying Presentations for schools, visit the Hey U G L Y, Inc. Web site at http://www.heyugly.org. Hey UGLY was founded in 2002 in response to daily headlines about increased teen suicides, gun violence in schools, bullying, drug abuse, eating disorders, and the obesity epidemic facing American youth.

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Betty Hoeffner

219 778 2011
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