I’m going to be honest. I don’t like the phrase anti-bullying.
Of course, I like the concept. In fact, we created the whole dude. be nice company because we were tired of the negative ways people were treating each other in schools, on social media, and in the workplace.
But instead of telling kids what not to do, we wanted to give them something inspirational to do. And actually, we didn’t want to just create another list of action items to fix the problem of bullying, we wanted to create a brand identity that encouraged people to become someone better, one positive step at a time.
We're committed to creating cool clothes and doing our part to show people, no matter who they are or where they come from, that they matter. Kindness, inclusiveness, and gratitude will always be at the core of our culture.
After 8 years of running dude. be nice, we still think that the best bullying prevention strategy is one we’re focusing on the good we’re putting into the world, into the conversations we have with kids, and yes, even the shirts we wear.
We know that ASB Directors and school staff around the country are already doing so much of that. As the child of a teacher and school administrator and the husband of an elementary school teacher, I know firsthand how much school staff members care about bringing out the good in their students and staff.
To provide a little extra help as you prepare for bullying prevention month, here are a few resources that help you focus on the good, while also addressing the real issues around bullying we still see.
3 ways to prepare for bullying prevention month without being anti
Educate and involve the community on the purpose of bullying prevention month
- Rally the troops— everyone can be eyes, ears, and advocates for what’s happening on campus from parents, custodians, teachers, school counselors, and the employees at that corner store next to the school where the kids buy their drinks and candy. Check out this great article for inspiration.
Make bullying prevention fun
- In typical “kid fashion” make bullying prevention month loud, high energy, meaningful, and fun. When there’s energy around it—heck, when there’s a costume to wear with it—the kids are going to want to get on board!
- Organize a jog-a-thon around a theme so that everyone in the community can get involved—and have fun!
- Invite students to create their own anti-bullying posters and showcase them on the school’s social media account.
- When there’s a clear goal, it’s much easier to rally around.
- Assemble a core team and focus on a few main objectives for this important month.
- Then, revisit those goals at the beginning of every planning meeting so that you remain focused on what matters most.
Partner with dude. be nice to develop a positive framework for your school!
Let DBN be your guide to building a positive community. We have a library full of FREE resources that have been tried, tested, and celebrated by schools around the country.
Want to put the I in Kind and organize a DBN week with customized t-shirts that even the toughest kid will want to wear? Check out the dude. be nice free resources.
When I think of a school district that has been intentional about highlighting kindness and the impact it's had, I think of a guy named Steven Amundson, Activities Director at Tulare Western.
Kindness has always been a function of their DNA, but they were looking for a brand to put it all together. They discovered dude. be nice. and started creating dude be nice centric activities, weeks days, and they created a culture of compassion and kindness and inclusiveness.
One area that still stands out to me is how their student council supports the custodians. Because the students were in a constant mode of looking for ways to do more good, they had the realization that the night custodians missed an evening with their families almost every night. Given the nature of their work, they work hard for their school once everyone leaves.
So the students started by staying after the football games and cleaning up the stands. This turned into a big surprise event where they prepare a meal for the custodial staff and their families. Their goal? To show their appreciation to the custodians—and to provide quality time with their loved ones.
I’ve been running dude. be nice for almost a decade. And while the news stories have changed, the level and fear and divisiveness is still present.
In order for us to be the best people that we can be, we have to infuse some level of goodness in our appetite.
So as you’re planning your bullying awareness month, our hope is that instead of focusing just on the anti-bullying policies, you focus on who can be lifted up and encouraged.
And if you want help, we’ve got you covered.
Brent Camalich is the Founder and CEO of dude. be nice. He loves producing meaningful content that does a lot of good in the world, hanging out with his family in Austin, TX (#girldad), and playing with fireworks like he’s 10.