October is National Bullying Prevention Month

Bullying is a human right issue.

At least one in every five children experience bullying in school.

Bullying is not simply about threats, intimidation, and violence; bullying is an abuse of a child’s human rights. Addressing bullying from a human rights perspective addresses all forms of bullying, both those based on bias toward a particular group (e.g., race, religion, ethnicity), and those rising from personal animosity (e.g., jealousy, status, class, appearance, individual idiosyncrasy).

National Bullying Prevention Month is a nationwide campaign founded in 2006 by the the Parents Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights (PACER), an advocacy organization for children with disabilities. The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. This campaign has grown from an initial week-long event to a worldwide effort with thousands of individuals participating in multiple activities throughout October.

The focus of National Bullying Prevention Month is the importance of creating a safe environment for learning in our schools by eliminating bullying.  This means it requires a community wide effort to assure that children are safe at school, while online, and in their community. Preventing bullying needs to be addressed both in the classroom, throughout the entire school environment and in the wider community beyond.

orangeUnity Day is the signature event of National Bullying Prevention Month. “Make it Orange and Make it End,” is the Unity Day slogan. This year Unity Day is on October 25, 2017.  People are encouraged to wear the color orange on this day to show their solidarity with the bullying prevention cause and send the message everywhere that no one deserves to be bullied.

HRE USA encourages educators, students and everyone to take part in this effort and recognize the human rights dimension of bullying prevention.  Article 1 of the UDHR states:

All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

The Convention on the Rights of the Child (signed but not yet ratified by the United States) recognizes that all children, without exception, must be allowed “to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity (Principle 1)” and must “be protected from practices which may foster racial, religious and any other form of discrimination (Principle 10).” Bullying and demeaning treatment of any kind is antithetical to respect for human dignity.

Rights come with responsibilities. Everyone has a responsibility to create a safe environment by standing up against violence, harassment, and bullying. When schools and communities do not respond to stop bullying, they are failing their responsibility to protect the victim’s human rights. Students also have a responsibility to protect the human rights of others. Only when bystanders take safe and appropriate action can bullying be prevented.

For further resources on creating a bully-free, human rights-friendly classroom , please check out the “Bullying” section in HRE USA’s Resource Library.

National Council for Social Studies Conference


When: November 17-19
Where: San Francisco, CA

San Francisco’s rich history and vibrant neighborhoods come alive at the 97th NCSS Annual Conference, November 17-19, 2017 (pre-conference meetings November 15-16). Join NCSS in its first return to the Bay Area in more than 30 years for the world’s largest and most comprehensive social studies professional development conference.

Join more than 3,000 of your social studies colleagues to share the most current knowledge, ideas, research and expertise in social studies education, and to experience the history, culture, and color that are uniquely San Francisco.

HRE USA and the NCSS HRE Community will be hosting a series of events at the NCSS conference. Further details will be provided in the October newsletter and on our website.

We hope to see you there!

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John Brown Day Celebration and Anti-Racism Symposium

When: Saturday October 14, 2017
Where: Woodstock Union High School  Woodstock, Vermont
Cost: $10-20 sliding-scale registration fee includes breakfast

On 5 May of this year, the Vermont legislature adopted a concurrent resolution “designating October 16, 2017 as John Brown Day in Vermont.” To commemorate the day, the Woodstock Social Justice Initiative is hosting a Brown celebration and anti-racism event in Woodstock, Vermont on the October 14th aimed at empowering community members with the understanding and tools needed to take action against racism. Several renowned experts on Brown, abolitionism and anti-abolitionism in Vermont and New Hampshire will be presenting, as will local educators who will demonstrate how they teach about Brown and other controversial figures.

Continuing education credits will be available.

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>> Register for event

International Day of Peace


When: Thursday, September 20th
Where: Earth

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.

The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” This focus is drawn from TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for refugees and migrants. TOGETHER unites the members of the United Nations, their citizens and their public and private institutions in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.

“In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbors as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential.” He added, “Together, let us build bridges;  let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights.”

Please take some time in your classes or school to explore the theme of respect, safety and dignity for all. Included in the link below are sample lessons, websites and links to materials to help  build a culture of respect and dignity where everyone feels safe.

>> Access resources

Teaching Human Rights Workshop


When: Saturday, October 14, 2017 9:00 AM – Sun , October 15, 2017 2:00 PM
Where: International Affairs Building, 420 W. 118 St., New York, NY 10027 Room 1201

The Institute for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University is holding a two-day interactive workshop designed to help: build your knowledge of human rights, develop skills to teach human rights to your students, and build/strengthen your capacity to promote respect and empathy within your school or community.

Prior knowledge of human rights is not required. For questions, please email humanrightsed@columbia.edu with the subject “Teaching Human Rights Workshop.”

Early Bird Deadline: September 11th

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8th International Human Rights Education Conference


When: November 30 – December 3
Where: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

The International Conference on Human Rights Education (ICHRE) is the forum for practitioners, policy-makers and academics to explore innovative education solutions to global challenges. This 3.5-day conference will assemble 300 participants from all over the world for practical workshops and insightful sessions featuring the latest tools, knowledge and good practices in human rights education.

The Conference Bridging our Diversities will take place during a year of important anniversaries: Canada 150, Montreal 375 and Equitas 50. The conference will provide a unique opportunity to showcase the lessons learned from Canada, Quebec, Montreal and Equitas’ experience promoting human rights, pluralism, inclusion and respect for diversity.

Early Bird Deadline:  July 15th

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