The many forms of bullying affect one-third of our youth today.  Bullying and harassment is a continuing problem for school districts, parents, students and communities across the nation.  The impact of bullying has been well documented – studies have shown that difficulty making friends, loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, poor academic achievement, truancy and even suicide are all associated with being bullied. 

In addition to face-to-face bullying, cyberbullying has become another means for some youth to bully and harass others.  An increasing number of youth are misusing online technology to bully, harass and even incite violence against others.  As opposed to traditional bullying, cyberbullying through modern communication technology can be more pervasive and invasive in nature:  electronic messages can be circulated far and wide in an instant, and are usually irrevocable.  Despite the prevalence and impact of cyberbullying, many adults are unaware of the problem due to a lack of fluency in new technologies, limited involvement in and oversight of youth online activity, and strong social norms among youth against disclosure of online behavior.  Bullying youth creates an environment which can foster anti-social behavior.

Further, bullying can sometimes reflect anti-Semitism, making it a special concern to the Jewish community.  Experience indicates that bullying is often motivated by hate and can escalate into more destructive behavior.  Bullying may also lead to an unsafe and intimidating atmosphere where other students feel less inhibited from acting on feelings of prejudice and those who find the behavior disturbing feel less comfortable taking a stand on behalf of victims of prejudice. Jewish history and experience make it a special concern of the Jewish community. Inspired by Hillel’s words in Pirke Avot (2:5), “In a place where there are no human beings, try to be one. 

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs believes that:

The community relations field should:

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