GAMBRILLS– Bullying has always been a problem at schools. Some consider it a part of growing up, but educators in Maryland are fed up. Today, they partnered with Facebook and the Cartoon Network to get both kids and adults to speak up about it as part of bullying prevention month.
“What would happen if we chose to stand up? What would happen if we chose to speak up?” Gov. Martin O’Malley asked the audience at a rally at Arundel High School.
State officials said there were 3,818 cases of reported bullying in Maryland last year, but acknowledged that many more incidents go unreported. The goal of the program is to get kids to take a pledge on Facebook, and speak out whenever they see someone being bullied.
“When they step in, it stops within 10 seconds. We can put an end to it,” said Maryland First Lady Katie O’Malley, the mother of four children.
Students said that Facebook may help make it cool to join efforts to prevent bullying.
“Everybody is on Facebook and it’s a way to spread the message out on Facebook and it’s a way to draw attention to it,” said Julia Dolinish, a sophomore at Sherwood High School.
“There is bullying on Facebook, to have a program like this, it allows bystanders to say that it’s wrong, and that it’s socially unacceptable,” said Christian Hodges, a sophomore at Arundel High School.
The O’Malleys said they hope parents will discuss the issue with their children during the month of October, which is Parental Involvement Education Month. And they’ve set a specific date and time for families to do that: October 17th at 7 p.m.
“We must do all we can to stand up against bullying. It starts with each of us,” Katie O’Malley said.