Project SOS’s recent visit to Duval Charter School at Baymeadows opened many students’ eyes to the damaging effects of bullying. Jacksonville middle schoolers listened intently during one of three separate assemblies tailored for sixth, seventh and eighth graders, wherein counselors helped walk them through identifying and dealing with incidents of bullying.
Several students broke down in tears and one called the presentations “inspiring,” as noted in a feature article in the Florida Times Union. Bullying is an issue that’s gaining a lot of media attention – and with good reason. Consider these heartbreaking statistics:
- One out of four kids are bullied in America each day.
- Four out of 10 children will drop out of high school this year because of bullying.
- One in five students admits to being or having been a bully at some point.
- Each day, upwards of 160,000 students miss school for fear of being bullied.
- 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary (middle or middle/high) schools each month.
But as Project SOS Youth Development Specialist Nikki DeMoya asserted at Duval Charter School, students have the power to build a school culture that doesn’t tolerate bullying.
“Words are the most powerful thing you own,” she told a captive audience. “Your words can make someone’s day or hurt them for the rest of their lives. You make the decision. You’re going to make a school where everybody feels safe.”
Want help teaching teens in your school or organization about dealing with bullying? Jacksonville’s Project SOS can be reached at 904-296-9950.