Bully Alarm: Transforming the Effects of Bullying

Deborah J. Holliday, created a national campaign that changes how children respond to bullying.
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Bully Alarm: Transforming the Effects of Bullying One Child at a Time!

Deborah J. Holliday created a national campaign that changes how children respond to bullying.

-Evette Brown

A child being bullied

You might have been bullied, bullied other children in school, or know of someone who has been or is being bullied. In 2010, BullyingStatistics.org determined that one in seven students in kindergarten through 12th grade is either a bully or has been a victim of bullying. That still does not make it normal sandbox behavior! But, ridding the world of bullying is impossible. So, social worker Deborah J. Holliday created tool to fight against the effects of bullying with Bully Alarm. The organization is determined to empower child after child until bullying is no longer effective in destroying self-esteem. Stopping here at BettyConfidential for a brief chat, Holliday is spreading the mission of her organization, encouraging all parents to become involved in what is happening with the world’s most precious jewels, children, and teaching us how to identify the bully alarm sounding in all of us.

What inspired the creation of Bully Alarm?

I was bullied as a child. I felt myself becoming a bully and so those incidents of being bullied changed my life when I was young. I saw my children being bullied. My husband was bullied as a child. It was the topic of a paper that I wrote in graduate school based on research from the New York Times. I came to realize that bullying in childhood is the root of many problems for adults. It sparked a passion in me that never left.

Read Schools’ Anti-Bullying Efforts Don’t Always Work

How exactly did the concept for the organization develop?

It is still an on-going concept, but we have an inside-out approach that some refer to as the root-to-fruit approach. The reason I did it is because in the years that I’ve been researching bullying, I’ve noticed that there are a lot of programs with positive concepts and that are seeing some results. What is lacking is the need to see bullying as an inside problem, behavior modifications have limited impact on bullying.

When you study bullying as a behavior instead of as a person, you understand you can only have control over the effects that bullying has on you. Our goal is to empower the individual from the inside out which will strengthen their courage to speak up and encourage other people to put up a shield to block the bullying darts being thrown at them which can be physical, emotional or relational.

We want to empower, inform, and to raise awareness. That is the thing that is going to combat the bullying culture. You have to empower people to know to do and when to do it to have an impact.

Bullying is an imbalance of power. Someone who is looking to exercise their power over someone else will scan a room and look for someone who is different or kind, which is often mistaken for weakness. They’ll wait a week or two and by September, the bullier has a target and is coming to take that child’s power. But, if that child has awareness and information, it is easy to put up that shield and not lose that confidence.

What exactly is Bully Alarm’s mission? Can you provide us with an example of how this mission is carried out?

Our mission is to empower one child, one family, one school, and one community at a time to identify bullying behavior with a confident voice that will stop its negative impact on our nation by increasing respect.

We believe that through an awareness campaign and a RESPECT REVOLUTION, we can sound the alarm on the culture of bullying. We need to sound the alarm on this issue for parents to both know and care about it. Bullying is a consistent and intentional overpowering of other people. Our alarm inside tells us when it’s going on and we have to respect that and act on it.

We are conducting free community workshops for parents in the New Jersey-area and we are looking to expand into New York. The title of the workshop is, “Bullying, what’s the big deal?” because that’s often the response that people give when it comes to the topic. We offer parents information about school policies, laws in their area, and give them advice on how to act proactively on this issue.

We also have events planned in October because that is National Bullying Awareness Month.


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