Oct. 16, 2013 — News reports throughout the country have detailed accounts of many tragic stories, including an alarming rate of teenage suicides, all of which stem from a rising epidemic in schools – bullying.
Students at Tygart Creek Elementary School have decided to face this issue head-on.
Children at the school took part in Unity Day last Wednesday by wearing orange clothing and engaging in various anti-bullying activities.
When they were asked about bullying, students shared their thoughts about how it happens and the negative effects that can result:
“When people they are bullied, they think it’s okay to bully other people. That’s how it spreads.”
“Some people will point out a body part or some other physical thing and call it ‘weird’ to make a kid feel bad.”
“Cyberbullying is also a big thing that happens. Sometimes people bully by sending mean text messages or posting bad things about other people on Facebook.”
“Some people get so depressed when they are constantly bullied that they actually end up killing themselves.”
Leigh Williams teaches fourth and fifth graders at the school. She says her students were inspired to participate in the event, in part, by an article in Time for Kids – a children’s publication produced by the publishers of Time magazine.
“We read that magazine with the kids all the time. When they saw this idea of Unity Day in an article, they all wanted to do something similar,” said Williams.
As part of Unity Day, every student at the school signed an anti-bullying banner that will be displayed in the school alongside a unity chain comprised of links that contain different statistics or other statements about the negative impacts of bullying.
Students also jointly signed a letter that will be sent to Sen. Robin Webb outlining various statistics about bullying in schools, along with ways to combat the problem.
“Students need to know that they’re empowered to stop half the bullying situations in school just by intervening on behalf of their peers,” said Williams.
“We can’t be silent any longer. That’s just not an acceptable response to bullying.”
Joe Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone at 286-4201.