The Grade

Education in Stamford

Speak Out Against Bullying

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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.

Categories: General
Maggie Gordon

7 Responses

  1. canuhndlthtruth says:

    Abigail Thernstrom, PHD,[a former a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute in New York and the vice-chair of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and a recipient of the prestigious 2007 Bradley Prize for Outstanding Intellectual Achievement.]is one of the few people who’ve actually cut to the heart of the matter. She believes:

    * “Too few schools actually…are truly committed to addressing harassment and bullying.”

    * A hostile school environment or one in which the victim knows that he/she can not rely on the protective provisions implied by school policies due to uninterested, impotent, or corrupt administrators/agents of the school…causes to student to feel unsafe. Feeling unsafe at school interferes with the learning process.

    *A hostile school environment most certainly limits a students ability to take advantage of educational opportunities (and sometimes also extracurricular activities)

    *Children who are bullied/harassed and left largely unprotected in the school environment suffer immeasurable long-term socio-emotional effects. According to experts, targeted Aspergers students in particular, are at far greater risk for low self esteem and lower academic achievement. They are also far more likely to suffer clinical depression, anxiety, and problems with anger management. As a last resort, victims of B/H are more likely to harm themselves or commit suicide as a result of frequent, ignored, or unresolved incidents of bullying or harassment. Most all victims are more likely to to abuse drugs and/or alcohol, to suffer with depression/anxiety, and suffer a variety of stress related physical complaints.

    Bullying cut to the very soul of its victims; it creates a would that never really heals.

  2. LME says:

    Why are you only looking for pre-teens and teens for this project? My daughter has been bullied since kindergarden and is now 9. Why not start this conversation at a much earlier age…and schools, put your money where your mouth is…zero tolerance means zero tolerance!!!! Why are we in a postition where we feel we need to “take back” the power of bullies? Why did the schools allow them to get this power in the first place?!!!! Big mistake to start this conversation in middle school and high school…so many years to wait for someone to care that they are being bullied!!!

  3. m says:

    Joey,

    My precious snowflakes are in the real world, thank you. It’s people like you, who secretly, or not so secretly, feel that the kids who are bullied basically deserve it, who keep the environment in our schools the way it is.

    Do the people at your work routinely call you names? Beat you up? I’m thinking no. THAT’S the real world, isn’t it? High school is the only world these kids have and it’s no joke. If it’s not acceptable in your workplace to call people faggot, why should it be acceptable in school? I’m not saying that kids should be expelled for language–in school suspension would be fine. And don’t kid yourself, a couple of days of suspension is hardly “minimizing education.” Once the “good kids” start getting suspended and their parents notified, the bullying will stop.

    Saying that it will get better when they’re adults is too late for some of these kids. Have you looked at the high school suicide statistics? Why must they put up with constant bullying, when it’s so easy to stop? Or do you think that the kids who can’t take it really ought to just kill themselves so people like you can have their fun? But if all the faggots kill themselves, who will you have to make fun of?

  4. joey says:

    Automatic suspension??

    Great way to set kids on the right way by minimizing education.

    And yes, certain things are just a JOKE. Stop trying to make every single little tiny thing into such an emotional breakdown.

    What happens when your precious snowflakes get set into the real world?

  5. Kiera says:

    Have you seen this great new PSA about using the R-word? It’s very powerful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T549VoLca_Q

  6. m says:

    If the schools would automatically suspend kids who are overheard calling things “gay”, or using racial and ethnic slurs and other such words, after a month, I predict we would have a whole lot less of a problem.

    There is a culture of acceptance of these things in our schools. “Oh, it’s only a joke,” or “he knows I didn’t mean he’s really gay,” should not suffice. There should be a zero-tolerance policy. Words hurt.

    One hates to think that the administration ignores these words because they think the kids who get teased deserve it, or that it will toughen them up, but if that’s not the case, why are there no consequences?

    Stamford High School is apparently taking steps to reduce racial epithets, let’s see how long that lasts, and if we can enlarge the initiative to include other hurtful “joking” words.