Can We End Bullying? 2 Aims to Teach Empathy, Kindness to Prevent Bullying

Despite all the information and focus on bullying, one large study shows that 49 percent of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8 percent reported bullying others during that time.

Bullying isn’t just something that’s mean or that makes kids feel bad, either. It can have lethal consequences as well.

According to, bully victims are between two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims, according to studies by Yale University and a study in Britain found that at least half of suicides among young people are related to bullying.

In Oklahoma, one organization wants to reverse that trend and stop bullying before it becomes a problem for children. is a new organization that teaches young people how to humanely trust animals, the environment and each other. The group focuses on elementary-aged children to teach about what bullying is and how to stand up to a bully in a positive and proactive way.

Then the organization takes it a step forward.

“We teach them about good character and how it can help them to prevent bullying from even starting,” says Debbie Gladwin, founder of “They learn about empathy and compassion, diversity and inclusion. They learn about accountability, responsibility and self-motivation. They learn problem-solving skills and conflict resolution skills that will not only help them during their school years, but in their adult lives as well.”

Based in the Oklahoma City metro area, aims to stop bullying behavior before it even happens.


Debbie’s original goal wasn’t to start an anti-bullying organization, but she’s always had a passion for the underdogs and helping people.

“When I lived in California, I volunteered at a farm animal rescue sanctuary. That was my first experience with the brutality of humans to animals, and it had a profound effect on me,” she says. “When I came to Oklahoma, I volunteered at a local no-kill animal sanctuary and saw first-hand just how harsh humans could be.”

By accident, Debbie found a program that taught people about humane education. She became a Humane Education Specialist with the goal of teaching young people how to treat animals, the environment and each other in a way that did the most good and the least amount of harm.

“But something was missing,” she says. “I had been seeing reports of increased gun violence and bullying incidents at schools across the country. Before we could help the animals, we had to help the children. But how?” was born. The organization has a variety of programs that work in the classroom, the home school environment, daycares, sports leagues and anywhere children congregate.

“We also have a program for parents, and most of those parents that are interested have kids who have been bullied,” she says. “We teach them what signs to look out for if they think their kid might be the one bullying or be the target. We also will have professional development for educators so that they know the signs and what to do for kids who are being bullied.”

Those interested in learning more about’s programs can visit

“Bullying affects everyone, even those who say, ‘my kid’s not being bullied. He doesn’t need to learn this or she doesn’t need to learn this,’ but it isn’t just learning about bullying,” Debbie says. “It’s learning about how to be an empathetic, kind human being in a world that’s so cruel. That’s what we teach: how to be a kind, empathetic, responsible human.”