Anti-bullying rally to be held on February 20 at Carver Elementary
(Indianola, MS) – Like the spectrum of colors, the span between courage and cowardice holds many different kinds of people. Fredrick Gooden wants his peers to know that bullies hold the lowest position.
“You have to be a coward to bully someone. You have to have courage to stand up to it,” said Fredrick, president of the Indianola Youth Council. “There’s something really bad going on in a bully’s life to create the kind of anger it takes to do that to another person.”
To delve deeper into an issue that Gooden describes as “one of the biggest problems in Indianola,” an anti-bulling rally will be held on Feb. 20 at 1:30 p.m. in the Carver Elementary School gym. Sponsored by Sonic, the Indianola Promise Community and the IPC-coordinated Indianola Youth Council and Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports program, the rally will seek to:
- Educate parents/caregivers and students about what the school is doing to build a safer, more supportive school climate and what can be done at home to reinforce these strategies; and what to do if bullying should occur—whether a student is a victim, bystander or person doing harm.
- Engage students, school staff and families in a forum to discuss the problem of bullying and design an action plan to improve the school climate through environmental changes, awareness building strategies or empowerment activities.
- Empower students, families and school staff to talk about shared values such as respect, trust and kindness, while committing to convey these values to each other.
- Help students develop their own programs within the school to decrease or stop bullying all together.
The rally is funded by a “Take Your Family to School” grant awarded to the Carver PTA. It will include a presentation by the Youth Council and student members of the recently formed Carver “Bully-Free Zone” project.
“These students are acting as leaders of a safe social outlet to share ideas, learn assertiveness skills and better understand bullying and why people act out in this way,” said Carver’s student counselor, Nearline Anderson, who oversees the Bully-Free Zone project.
Research shows that students who are bullied are more likely to miss school, feel disconnected from school and experience lower academic achievement. All of these are proven risk factors for students dropping out. Conversely, a safe and supportive school climate is connected to higher reading and math scores.
National statistics show that: 83 percent of girls and 79 percent of boys report being bullied either in school or online; 75 percent of school shootings have been linked to harassment and bullying against the shooter; students who are bullies as young adults continue the trend of abuse and violence into adulthood; only 20-30 percent of students who are bullied tell adults or authorities about their situations; and 30 percent of young people admit to having bullied others.
With the advent of social media, bullying has evolved as to its delivery mechanisms, namely social media. But bullying as a means to intimidate, isolate and emotionally damage young people remains the same.
“Some might look at bullying as just joking around, but it’s not,” said Fredrick. “It’s not right, we’re not going to condone it and we’re going to show the consequences that come with it.”
The Indianola Youth Council will present a skit about bullying and its impact on young lives.
“I hope we touch the hearts of many this year,” said Fredrick.
For more information about the rally or any Indianola Promise Community projects, contact the IPC office at (662) 686-3930 or visit the Indianola Promise Community Facebook page.