This January we launched an anti-bullying initiative in Pueblo, Colorado under a grant from the Colorado Department of Education. Pueblo has struggled to survive in the face of enormous job losses, resulting in 90% of its students qualifying for free or reduced lunch. The town is plagued by high levels of violence, with double the murder rate of Brooklyn, New York. Before we began, I asked one of our partners in the Pueblo City Schools District what she wanted to accomplish during this first wave. She replied without hesitation. 'We need to give people hope.
No Bully is launching a broadly based campaign to combat bullying worldwide, with a particular focus on online bullying.
Bullying and cyberbullying have become a global health priority, impacting one-third of adolescents worldwide. The problems that they present are so big and so tangled in systemic complexities that they cannot be solved by any single organization.
Netflix's 13 Reasons Why has attracted enormous attention due its controversial portrayal of a teenage suicide. It depicts an adolescent struggling with a maelstrom of stresses that include rape, drugs and cyberbullying, traveling a seemingly inevitable path to planning and executing her own death.
Recently I received a call from the family of a high school student who had committed suicide. His peers had filmed him engaged in a very personal activity in the school bathroom and posted the video online. Three weeks later he killed himself. Would I serve as an expert witness in a court case against the school district for cyberbullying?
If the US were a school, what would its students be like? Assuming it served one hundred kids, this is what you would see.
We are emerging from a presidential election that tapped into the economic insecurity and alienation felt by so many in the United States and resulted in intense polarization on both sides of the political spectrum. It was all too easy in the ideological divide to forget our shared humanity and to lose sight of what is most important in our lives.
On Monday Broadway against Bullying returned to San Francisco atFeinstein’s at the Nikko Hotel. Produced by two-time Tony and Grammy Award nominated producer and internationally acclaimed Music Director and Pianist, Michael Moritz, Jr. and featuring stars from some of Broadway’s biggest musical hits, this one night engagement brought much deserved support to No Bully’s campaign to end bullying in schools.
In February students at a high school basketball game in Merrillville, Indiana, produced cutout images of US presidential candidate Donald Trump and directed chants of "Build that wall" at the opposing team and fans, who were heavily Hispanic.
Last month No Bully was invited to Paris by UNESCO to join Ministers of education from across the world with leaders of other civil society organizations. We were convened to address education sector responses to violence based on sexual orientation and gender expression/ identity.
Photo credit: Espen Faugstad (Creative Commons).
The next time a kid tells you that they don’t like their school, it is worth asking yourself whether you would like it either. Schools have personalities, which explains why students use adjectives to describe them that usually are applied to people e.g. fun, full of drama, boring, stressful, or mean.