JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBS 2) — Along with reading, writing, and arithmetic, bullying is a fact of life for many children in our area.
But on Tuesday, Jersey City schools said “enough,” and have launched an innovative program to ban bullying.
It had the feel of a concert, the passion of a religious revival and the talent of American Idol.
But don’t let their cheers and shouts fool you. For the thousands of New Jersey high schoolers who filled the auditorium at St. Peter’s College for a rally launching an anti-bully campaign, the subject matter was a painful one, reports CBS 2’s Don Dahler.
“I was a late bloomer. The girls made fun of me because of that,” one little girl said, hold a sign that read “Outcast.”
“I was beaten so badly, I suffered a concussion and a temporary loss of vision in one eye,” another said.
Every student who performed on stage had been bullied at one time or another. But to the surprise of the audience, that’s not what these kids were talking about.
“I am Kate Winslet, an Academy Award-winning actress. And I am not who you say I am,” one girl said.
“I am Michael Phelps, Olympic gold medalist, and I am not who you say I am,” another said to cheers.
The superintendent for Jersey City Schools said letting the students know that they’re not alone is a big part of the program.
“I want to tell the bullies, stop bullying. Jersey City’s going to be the leader in this,” Jersey City Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Epps Jr. said.
YouTube videos played a role in the rally as well.
“They harass me every day! They take my money. They make me do their reports,” one student said on video.
The “Ban Bullying Project” includes an 11-minute movie made to show bullies what they’re putting their victims through.
They’re encouraged to make a pledge to stop.
Dancer and student Sadie Ramos said she’s had to stand up to bullies her whole life.
“The bullying is completely different now. Back then it was physical contact. Now it’s talking behind your back and cyber bullying on Facebook and all those things,” Ramos said.
A lot of students claim they don’t even have a chance.
But if this program can catch fire, maybe now, they do.
Across the nation, studies show almost 300,000 kids are physically attacked by bullies every month. And 17 percent of all teens admit they’ve been cyber-bullied in the past 30 days.
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