Bullying in schools and online is a growing crisis. Be Smart. Be Well. interviewed a number of high school students, along with several leading experts about what to do about it. Charles F. Hollendoner, Chicago Police Department detective, and Julie Hertzog, director of the Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, weighed in on the scope of the problem and how young people can help prevent bullying.
Be Smart. Be Well interviewed 19 students of varying ages. The result is a frank account of the state of bullying at one high school. The good news: Many teens are doing something about the problem and are standing up to bullying. “I get in contact with the people whose those attacks are made on,” one student related, “to let them know that they’re not alone, that they don’t deserve what’s happening to them.”
Be Smart. Be Well. director Larry Phillippe chats with Randy, a high school sophomore, and tells him to act normal and ignore the fact that he’s surrounded by bright lights and that he has a microphone stuck over his head. All the interviewed students were remarkably poised, under the circumstances.
Chicago Police Department Detective Charles F. Hollendoner specializes in bullying cases, especially as they relate to the internet. Cyberbullying is a growing problem, according to the detective. “I get probably 15 requests a month to go to a school to talk about this,” he says. “That's up from two years ago.”
Shyler, a high school junior, was eloquent about the benefits of standing up to bullying, “It’s honestly the best thing you’ll ever do for yourself or someone else,” she says. “So many things could blossom from it. Friendships, like self-identity. You could start figuring out who you are, just by standing up for yourself.”
Julie Hertzog, Director of the Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center, was insistent that bystanders can play a decisive role in preventing bullying. “There’s a statistic out there,” she related, “that almost 60 percent of bullying situations will stop when a peer intervenes.”
Hannah related her personal experiences with bullying. “I actually have been bullied in high school,” she revealed. “And I have friends who can stand up for me and it’s really nice.