Stopping the Bullying War
GL: What are you hoping to achieve with this panel discussion?
Jordan: This panel will bring together some of the nation's leading experts on bullying to talk about why students bully, the impact this is having on students in our schools and offer constructive solutions to the problems at hand. There will be more than 500 teachers, educators and government officials in attendance, and—by talking and working together—we're hoping to take steps toward tackling this crisis head on.
GL: What made you want to bring attention to this issue? Was there a specific instance, or just a buildup of recent events?
This is an incredibly important issue for everyone to address. It’s estimated that 160,000 students miss school every single day because they’re being bullied and are afraid. And one of every 10 students that drops out of high school does so because of repeated bullying. Those are really shocking numbers.
GL: Is there one story that stands out to you or speaks to you personally?
The statistics speak to me even more than individual stories. Did you know, according to GLSEN, high school students hear anti-gay epithets in school an average of 25 times each day? And teachers fail to respond to these comments 97 percent of the time?
The only way to stop this is to unequivocally state that this activity is unacceptable. Schools, clubs, camps, after school and summer programs and every youth-serving organization needs to train staff and volunteers on effective bullying prevention. That’s the first step.
GL: What advice can you give to victims of bullying?
Victims of bullying need to know they're not alone. There are people and organizations that want to help them, and can help make the bullying stop. But the first step is for the victims of bullying to reach out, to speak with someone—a teacher or a counselor—and make them aware of the problem. Once they're aware, there are things that can be done. Too many students suffer in silence, and the bullying only gets worse. We need to encourage more conversation, more awareness, so we can have earlier prevention.
GL: Will you have more discussions or available resources in the future on your site, UNIGO?
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