OAKLAND, Calif. - Gone are the days when bullying was confined to the schoolyard by one kid or a group of others. The digital age of today has brought about social media, often considered a haven for "haters" to pick on whole groups, nationalities or ethnic backgrounds.
The Northern California chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) found that when it comes to bullying children, the Bay Area is worse than most.
"Muslim students experience bullying at twice the national average. That is even before [the start of the Israel-Hamas war]" said Zahra Billoo of CAIR.
Now, with war raging in the Middle East, there's a real fear bullying will get worse, especially in their schools.
"Our concern is that young people are suffering in their schools. They don't feel safe and long term, that impedes their ability to learn and grow," said Billoo.
Bullying has several different delivery mechanisms.
"It includes emotional targeting, social targeting, physical targeting, and it can happen between students, as you know, but it can also happen from teachers and administrators, making students feel unsafe. That sends a message to every other person in the classroom, every other young person who looks to the adult as a role model," said Billoo.
So, the best advice for parents is to report bullying to the principal, participate in the PTA, know the laws and rules that apply, engage the school board and lawmakers.
"It's important for people to live their culture and their religion proudly, And the first step to doing that is insuring that they are safe to do so," said Billoo.
Writer Dan Pearce penned this advice to bullies: "People who love themselves, don't hurt other people. The more we hate ourselves, the more we want others to suffer."