Our small community has been deeply affected by bullying. Last year, two teenage girls committed suicide after being bullied. This school year, we’ve already had five students bring weapons to school to protect themselves from bullies. And two out of three students referred to our Teen Court program for simple assault, simple affray or disorderly conduct are there because of bullying-related incidents.
Recognizing the need to address bullying in schools, our young people, police officers and community members decided to take a stand by creating a short movie. The movie was written and acted by students, many of whom have been involved in bullying.
The movie focuses on a new student who is trying to do well in school and make friends while navigating the complexities of teenage life – social circles and “mean girls.” She is bullied in school and online and has to choose how to respond. Will she choose violence or will she turn to a caring adult? And how will this decision affect her life?
We originally planned to share the movie with seven of our schools, but the School Board and School Administration decided to show it to all 34 schools in Rowan County, NC! The film is being used as part of a classroom discussion on bullying and is also included in teacher and school administration trainings.
We are incredibly proud of our young people for having the courage to stand up to bullying! We encourage you to use our video to start your own conversations around bullying.
We would like to give a special thank you to Police Chief Rory Collins, Officer Ann Cooper and Channel 16 Access News for their assistance in making and distributing the video.
Daniel Sevigny is Program Director of Restorative Justice for Rowan County and Reclaiming Futures Rowan County. As Program Director of the Restorative Justice Department at Rowan County Youth Services Bureau, Daniel works to promote school-based restorative justice as an alternative to zero-tolerance policies in an effort to address the school to prison pipeline. Restorative justice is a set of principles and practices grounded in the values of showing respect, taking responsibility, and strengthening relationships. When harm occurs, restorative justice focuses on repairing the harm done to victims and the community in an effort to prevent re-occurrence.
Updated: October 23 2012