This guide to plan an awareness event is one of the initiatives taken this year by PACER (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights) in the framework of the bullying prevention month. Other initiatives and tools can be found on their website: http://www.pacer.org/bullying/nbpm/
The National Bullying Prevention Month is a campaign in the United States founded in 2006 by PACER's National Center for Bullying Prevention. The campaign is held during the month of October and unites communities nationwide to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. Traditionally held the first week in October, the event was expanded in 2010 to include activities, education, and awareness building for the entire month. National Bullying Prevention Month is recognized in communities across the United States, with hundreds of schools and organisations signing on as partners.
PACER developed the initial campaign National Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week in response to the need to raise awareness of bullying, as it was historically viewed "a childhood rite of passage" and believed that bullying "made kids tougher", when the reality is that bullying has devastating effects such as school avoidance, loss of self-esteem, increased anxiety, and depression. PACER reached out to the community through partnerships with education based organizations such as National PTA, American Federation of Teachers and National Education Association to provide schools, parents and students with resources to respond to bullying behaviour and to begin the shift of societal acceptance of bullying to social change of addressing the issue through education and support. PACER disseminated nationwide press releases through the partners and media channels, encouraging a call to action to educate the community about their role in bullying prevention, which provided the groundwork for the campaign to be consistently recognised as an annual event.
Although the resource is American, the guide could apply to any school. A national equivalent of the “National Bullying Prevention Month” would be the ideal moment to organise such an event since the intended purpose of the event is to raise awareness on the issue. The target audience is not named, but such an event could only be organised by a person with some authority within the school and organisational skills. The guide does not apply to one kind of activity in particular, it gives some structure to the organisation of an event and can be used for any activity. It also includes ideas for what we could call “dissemination”, with extensive use of Facebook to inform on the event before and after it takes place and to raise awareness on bullying.