NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It was a celebration of strength, overcoming cruel obstacles and helping victims know they aren’t alone.
CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan spent Friday with some young teenagers at an emotional bullying forum on Long Island.
Jamie Isaacs, 15, switched Long Island schools, got help, overcame years of anguish and shared her remarkable and emotional recovery Friday with 2,500 mostly middle school students, who gathered at Farmingdale State College.
“No one ever really had the courage to stick up for me, and for a while, I didn’t know how to stick up for my self,” Isaacs said.
The students got helpful suggestions on how to stop taunting, sneering, and cruelty. Isaacs said don’t be a passive bystander because emotional damage can lead to a disaster.
“I have been bullied I have to admit, and have I’ve known people that have been bullied — just me watching them is heartbreaking,” student Philip Rabaglia said.
Sheldon Sackstein, of “Our Kids In Action,” which sponsored the conference said he hopes it makes an impact.
“We’ve been blessed here on Long Island with the fact that a Columbine incident hasn’t happened here, and we are going to take every step through our sister organization — ‘Our Kids In Action’ — to ensure that it doesn’t happen here,” he told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.
Isaacs also preached peer support and her message was well received by some of the students.
“We have the power to stop bullying, and we need to use it more,” Alexandra Forte said.
“It’s good thing to stick up for your friends because, you may never know, there may be a time when they want to commit suicide. So you should always help a friend,” Skyler McBean said.
Some at-risk students also met privately. Sharing, they said, made them feel less alone.
Belting out a Lady Gaga song and gaining the admiration of the bullying conference, a tenth grader from Deer Park admitted to the stunned crowd that she is a victim too.
“I’ve been cyber-bullied through my YouTube videos, people saying I’m ugly or I can’t sing, but I know who I am, and I don’t want anyone to knock me down,” Lexxi Saal said.
The annual anti-bullying conference on Long Island began 11 years ago in response to the Columbine disaster.
What can be done to help young students being bullied? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…