Allison Blotkey, the school’s social worker, read part of the announcement that was heard over the intercom.
“Stand4Change.org has asked educators and students to stand together for five minutes to recognize the problem of bullying and pledge to stop it. This historic rallying point for the anti-bullying movement will take place across North America. We will all stop, stand and let the world know that we will no longer tolerate bullying in our schools and communities.”
She said the participation of students and faculty in this continent-wide community action, will show people across the globe that it is not only okay to stand up to bullying, it is the right thing to do.
“What we’re trying to teach our kids today is that no matter what the problem is, no matter what the difference is you know, to be respectful to each other. Not everyone has to be best friends, but you have to be respectful.”
Student Julian Rhine says he was on the receiving end of a bully’s anger, but was able to diffuse the situation with help.
“If you have the chance like here at Pin Oak, we want the school to have a social worker or assistant principal. It’s best to go to them and talk with them, and see what they can do and see how they can fix your problem.”
Another student Jillian Connely, says she was glad to be part of the event.
“I thought that it was good. Because I don’t like bullying, and I have been a victim and I have been a bully. So, it’s good for the whole United States to be doing this and take a stand for bullying because it’s not right.”
Susan Shaw with the ADL (Anti-Defamation League) says Stand 4 Change and similar programs give voice to victims or targets of bullying.
“We also want the aggressors to come to a realization as to what impact their behavior has. But most importantly, we want to empower the bystanders to become allies. And almost all the work that the ADL does in the schools, it’s about empowering our youth with skills and strategies, to learn how to stand up and be an ally.”
She says their programs are like an insurance policy.
“Unfortunately, we have to come in in a reactive situation. And it’s for many of the youth, sort of a relief to know that there’s something that can be done, and that they’re not alone, that there are others out there including the ADL, who are there to support them.”