My students need two iPod Touches for a year-long anti-bullying video project in partnership with ABC Family to challenge increasing bullying in our school and community.
“Could a scar be like the rings of a tree, reopened with each emotional season?”
(Magenta Periwinkle, Cutting Class). Bullying at our school is a huge problem. The bullies are the students with the seeming power, prestige, popularity. Our students with the help of ABC Family want to change this.
Our school is located next to a Bronx jail where there is a daily line of inmates coming in and out.
On the other side of the street is a criminal court where there is a daily line of criminal cases. The South Bronx is known more for poverty, crime, drugs, gangs, and failing schools than academic opportunities. Bullying is a huge problem at our school as well as our local community. From sexism to racism to any "ism" and "phobia", our students are under attack. We are located in one of the most violent locations in the city and this violence can be traced to how our students treat each other in school. Our current lessons against bullying are not successful - they include periodic talks from teachers, lecturers from administrators, etc. Our students complain that all this talk is boring and not relevant to them. They are right! What is missing - are the voices of students. We are neglecting to hear the voices of the bullies, the bullied, third parties and all students in general.
After we had a big fight at school our school's debate team met together to figure out what to do. Students decided to use their speaking skills to record voices of all our students against bullying. Our students' proposal is a video project of student voices against bullying that we would like to put on our school website, share in classes and also share at home. We would like to record a pledge from as many students at as possible - a statement against bullying in all forms. Each student would go on camera and deliver a short, 1 minute speech against bullying that would include their own experience with bullying, or a story of someone close who experienced bullying, what they think of bullying, what they personally propose to do about bullying and what they propose as we as a country and community do against bullying. Our students are very excited about this because for the first time - students will be in charge. They proposed it, they will plan it, they helped me write this!
Our school is located in one of the most violent neighborhoods.
Which is why it is critical to stop bullying early for students because while it may starts as insults, jokes and seemingly insignificant or typical behavior of children - it not only has significant effects but also its effects can evolve into physical violence and even homicide. And that has been the case more than once in our community. At the same time we have incredible students who hope to partner up with ABC Family!
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