Speak Out Against Bullying

The Advocate, along with other Hearst papers throughout Connecticut, is tackling a public service project centered around bullying in schools. The first leg of the project is to raise awareness and remove the stigma that surrounds students who are bullied in an effort to encourage others to lend their voices to the conversation.

In this first phase, we created the above video, in which we asked teens to talk to us about what it’s like in middle school and high school, and their experiences with bullies. It is our hope that Megan and Alye’s words will raise consciousness about the issue, and that other students will join the dialogue as a result of these teenagers’ courage to speak.

This isn’t the only video we plan to produce during this months-long project. We’re looking for more students to create their own videos in which they talk about ways they’ve been affected by bullies in their high school’s hallways or online. Students can share such videos with us by emailing them to us at speakout@ctnews.com, or going to our Facebook Page.

Of course, as a newspaper, we’ll rely on more than just videos. We’re also looking for teens who are willing to sit down and chat with us for traditional, written stories we plan to write.

We also understand this is a complex topic, and that some students may have been on both sides of the equation at one point or another. We’d also like to speak with students who have bullied in the past, and may be working to sort of “reform” their ways. What made them want to stop? Did they get in trouble? How do they feel about their actions now that they’re removed from them?

We believe that by opening up the conversation about bullying, through students’ voices and perspectives, we can “take back” the power of bullies and work toward a world free of what many are calling an “epidemic of bullying” both in hallways, and online.

It’s an exciting project, and we’re looking for teens and pre-teens who are willing to be a part of what could become a large movement. Step up. Speak out. Make a change.

Maggie Gordon