Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Anti-Bullying Week begins on 15 November, which is less than a month away. This year the theme of Anti-Bullying week is Taking Action Together. The idea is for people to work together to build a society where everyone feels safe from bullying.

Last year Newsround broadcast a short docudrama for Anti-Bullying Week about the consequences of doing nothing when you see someone else getting bullied. The programme showed that if you don't actually try to prevent the bullying then, in effect, you're on the same side as the bullies.

Why didn't Newsround cover Anti-Bullying Week in 2008? This blogger believes CBBC was just a bit too uncomfortable with the theme for Anti-Bullying Week 2008 - Being Different, Belonging Together.

Now, why, you may ask, would CBBC be uncomfortable with that theme. The answer, if you haven't guessed already, is that some people at the BBC were worried that 'Being Different, Belonging Together' could readily be taken as supportive of diversity, and therefore of kids who identify as LGBT. So they simply decided to ignore Anti-Bullying Week altogether for that year (blog on 23 Nov 2008)

Some conservative groups in the United States have a very similar ethos. They want to prevent schools from directly addressing homophobic bullying, arguing that to do so promotes homosexuality. This YouTube video is a recent US discussion on the issue.

Bullying experts are clear that homophobic bullying cannot be effectively tackled unless it is tackled head-on. And as psychologist Emma Kenny said "when things are hidden they can't get dealt with."

Today is Spirit Day raising awareness of LGBT bullying and suicide. In London at the weekend there will be a vigil against hate crime.

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