05/07/2012

Students around the world stand against bullying

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Randi Weingarten Stand4Change day

AFT president Randi Weingarten stood against bullying on May 4 with students, teachers and staff at Greenville Elementary School in Scarsdale, N.Y. The event in the Edgemont School District was one of thousands that took place that day across the United States and in many other nations as part of Stand 4 Change Day.

At noon EDT, participants stood together to express their commitment to end bullying in our schools. The stand against bullying was coordinated by the Defeat the Label organization. An estimated 1.3 million students took part.

Weingarten said students and their teachers participated with the hope that "we can spark a national conversation that will help put an end to bullying and its devastating consequences."

Worldwide participation was promoted by Education International and the Canadian Teachers' Federation. International locations where students participated included: Abu Dhabi, Armenia, Belize, Cambodia, Canada, Chile, China, Costa Rica, England, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Mexico, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand and Wales.

Kids on Stand4Change day

This Stand 4 Change event took place as the AFT and its affiliates have been urging members to see the new documentary film "Bully," which tells the stories of five students tormented by bullies and reveals the too-often tragic consequences of such harassment. Many AFT affiliates have hosted screenings of the movie, inviting community leaders to watch the film and take part in discussions of the issues it raises.

More than a year ago, the AFT launched the "See a Bully, Stop a Bully" campaign to spread the word to parents, teachers, administrators and students about the devastating effects of bullying. Thousands of posters and more than 300,000 blue wristbands with the slogan "See a Bully—Stop a Bully" have been distributed. When students see a teacher, staff person or another student wearing the wristband, they know they have a friend—someone they can reach out to for help or talk to in confidence.

You can still visit the Stand 4 Change website for interactive resources and opportunities for students to take part in the global anti-bullying conversation. Extensive bullying prevention information is also available as part of the AFT's "See a Bully, Stop a Bully" campaign. [Tom Lansworth/photos by David Grossman]

May 7, 2012