Anti-Bullying Summit Aims to Inspire Change
Buses from the Cleveland Metropolitan School District began pulling up to the State Theater late Friday morning and unloading their precious cargo.
Seven-hundred students had arrived for a viewing of “Bully,” a documentary film by Lee Hirsch that features five youngsters and their struggles with bullying; a struggle 14-year-old Damian Jodon routinely witnessed growing up in the Cleveland Schools.
“It was something everyone would see,” he told Fox 8’s Lorrie Taylor.
DeQuinton Taylor, 14, said he had also endured bullying more times than he could count.
“Uh, I got bullied a lot, almost every day I can remember,” he said.
Both ninth graders attend “Facing History New Tech,” a new charter school in Cleveland.
They and the rest of the students at the theater were chosen because of their leadership skills to participate in the “Not on Our Watch” Anti-Bullying Summit, hosted, in part, by the international nonprofit “Facing History and Ourselves.”
After viewing the documentary, they’ll gather at the Barbara Byrd-Bennett Professional Development Center in Bratenahl to brainstorm ideas on eliminating bullying from the district.
“Not only are we gonna show people that it’s not right,” said Jodon, “we’re gonna push to make it something that no one wants to do anymore.”
Pamela Donaldson, a senior program associate from Facing History and Ourselves, says her organization has developed a guide based on “Bully” for Cleveland teachers to use so they can keep the conversation going all year.
“The film allows for that dialogue to happen,” she said, “and then once they have that dialogue, we hope that they will go out into their schools and be those leaders.”
The rest of Cleveland’s students won’t be left out of the conversation.
They will be transported to the Tower City Cinemas next week to see the documentary for themselves.
It’s an innovative approach to making schools safer; one Taylor believes will make a difference in the battle against bullying, not only in Cleveland but across the rest of the country as well.
“I thought it would impact kids all over the country to prevent bullying and try to stop it,” he said.