SOUTHAMPTON, NY — National Bullying Prevention Month kicks off this October across the nation.
According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, every day, thousands of young people experience bullying from their peers while at school, after school in their neighborhoods, and even when they are at home, through social media and texts.
“There are many ways to support bullying prevention as an individual or with friends and family, and within your school or community,” the center states on its website. (Learn some here.)
Here’s what the Southampton Union Free School District says about bullying:
“Safety is of utmost importance for all. We will ensure the physical safety and emotional well-being of all students. We will not tolerate bullying, intimidation, or harassment in any form in any school setting. The ideals of mutual respect and kindness will guide us at all times. We will nurture the unique talents of each individual. All children and adults in our district should aspire to be positive role models for all others. We will foster among students and staff an understanding and appreciation of individual differences that make our district a welcoming environment for learning. . .We will provide a safe and accessible physical environment that is conducive to learning.”
Southampton Town has also taken a tough stance in putting the brakes on bullying. For example, last year, to mark October’s Bullying Prevention Month, Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera and the town’s youth bureau once again hosted an annual prevention workshop.
In 2012, one Long Island teen shared her heartbreaking story of being bullied for six long years, from the time she was in second grade, at the same annual event hosted by Southampton Town in Flanders.
(Jamie Isaacs said she was bullied from the time she was in second grade. Photo courtesy Isaacs family).
Describing the ordeal, Jamie said she was upset all the time.
“I didn’t want to go to school, but yet, I loved school. I was so distraught and couldn’t understand how my best friend would betray me like this and go out of her way to hurt me and take my other friends away,” Jamie said. “Sometimes I was so upset, I would make myself sick and throw up. Sometimes I didn’t want to get out of bed. One day I took a doll and colored her eyes black and showed my mom and told her that this was how I felt. I had so much pain inside of me, that I didn’t know how to describe what I was feeling. I was scared, frightened, sad, angry, depressed.”
The Southampton Town event, now in its eighth year, is aimed at raising awareness about those harmed by bullying and cyber-bullying — and to enhance action already taken by school districts.
Scalera and the youth bureau partner with the National Bullying Prevention Center to recognize October as “Bullying Prevention and Awareness Month.”
“Each year has been a great success, but as the problem continues to exist, often with traumatic and even tragic consequences, it is my hope to continue to inform, provide strategies and tools and perhaps, most importantly, enhance awareness for school administrators, teachers, parents and our kids,” Scalera said. Last year, she said, the Bullying Prevention Summit was presented to youth in the town’s middle schools.
During the first six years, the focus was on education for parents, youth and school officials — but last year’s Bullying Prevention Summit brought “together young Southampton Town leaders to discuss effective bullying and cyber-bullying prevention strategies and learn skills and resources that will empower them to be up-standers and to set an example for others,” a release said.
Student representatives from grades six through eight from area schools attended the summit, which took place at Hampton Bays Middle School. The students participated in interactive activities with the Imaginarium Theater and staff from HUGS, Inc., and Act TWO Drama Troupe, to share school specific strategies with each other and hear from presenters from the LGBT Network, a release said.
“Children also need strategies to help them negotiate today’s cyber-world; too many mistakes are made behind the screen of an electronic device that might not be made during a face to face encounter,” Southampton Youth Bureau Director Nancy Lynott said. “Today’s youth communicate and get information primarily on their phones, and the toll of all too common negative encounters on social media is becoming increasingly serious.”
“We need to reinforce a policy of zero tolerance when it comes to bullying and cyber-bullying. We owe it to our children,” Scalera said.
For additional information on bullying prevention strategies. contact the Southampton Youth Bureau at 631-702-2425 or by clicking here.
THE MENACE OF BULLIES: Patch Advocacy Reporting Project
As part of a national reporting project, Patch has been looking at society’s roles and responsibilities in bullying.
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Published at Wed, 09 Oct 2019 04:58:00 +0000