Sad, but true. Not only do the bullied face a hard life of low self-esteem and potential chemical use, the bullies themselves face a much higher risk than their peers of spending time behind bars in their adulthood.
Bullying makes you mean. It makes you disregard other's feelings and safety. It turns off the power switch to dignity, self-respect and personal responsibility. In short, picking on your peers today creates the adult monsters of tomorrow.
Since these are all issues important in my line of work, I urge everyone to do their share to stop bullying in its tracks. A step that starts long before middle school lunch table drama and high school death threats. A step that begins with kindergartners who have yet to solidify their behavior patterns--who still have a chance of becoming something more than the inmates in years to come.
My editor at Elephant's Bookshelf Press takes this message to heart and is heading up a middle grade anthology of short stories on bullying. If you'd like to contribute--or know someone who might--please follow the submission guidelines below:
- Short stories should be geared toward middle grade students (roughly 7-12 years of age), and should be no more than 2,500 words long.
- Short stories can be told from the points of view of the bully, the bullied or the bystander and should have a clear resolution that shows the appropriate way of dealing with bullying.
- These stories should be engaging and not preachy. From historical to futuristic, kids need to connect to the story, the characters and the message. In other words, don't write down to these youngsters, but help empower them to come up with their own solutions.
- Short stories must be submitted by February 15 to firstname.lastname@example.org (the acquisitions editor on this project) with the words "EBP bully anthology" in the subject line.
- No payment will be made for accepted stories, though an author bio, links to a website or blog, and a free copy of the anthology will be provided to included authors.