October is Bullying Prevention Month
Eleven-year-old Susie Shannon isn’t letting bullies silence her.
“I just wrote this song,” said Susie, a sixth-grader from Warwick, Rhode Island, in an interview with Providence, Rhode Island, TV station WLNE. “And then the song made me feel better.”
Now, Susie hopes her song will make other kids feel better, too.
In September, she recorded a music video – a video that’ll reportedly be posted on the Internet, just in time for National Bullying Prevention Month.
The song starts out with the lyrics, “I had no way out. I was all alone.”
But it ends on a positive note, with words of encouragement.
National Bullying Prevention Month starts October 1st.
All month, schools across the country will hold anti-bullying programs.
A lot of schools didn’t wait for October.
On September 24th, students at Alice Robertson Junior High School in Muskogee, Oklahoma, heard from a man whose 11-year-old committed suicide after being bullied.
“My son will be 11 forever,” said Kirk Smalley, according to the Muskogee Phoenix newspaper. “It’s time we learned respect for others.”
Smalley’s son Ty killed himself nearly two-and-a-half years ago.
Since then, Kirk Smalley has gone from school to school, trying to put an end to bullying once and for all.
“If someone had stood up for Ty 866 days ago, my Ty might be alive today,” Smalley said, according to Phoenix reporter Cathy Spaulding.
The message apparently hit home for seventh-grader Kieran Felts.
He told the Phoenix he once witnessed a kid getting slammed into lockers but didn’t say anything.
“I was afraid,” Kieran said. “But now I’m going to stand up and say this is not going to go on.”
At Terra Cotta Middle School in Lake Elsinore, California, kids listened to high school students who’ve been through bullying.
Their message: Don’t be afraid to be yourself.
The message got through to 11-year-old Hanit Garcia.
“Don’t let anyone judge you,” she said in an interview with the North County Times. “Be proud of who you are.”
The assembly was held September 25th — almost exactly two years after 13-year-old Seth Walsh took his own life in Tehachapi, California.
Seth’s death resulted in the passage of “Seth’s Law.”
That’s a California law that requires all school districts in the state to have tough anti-bullying policies.
“It’s about changing the behavior and how people look at bullying,” Terra Cotta principal Sarah Arredondo told Times reporter Craig Shultz. “It’s something you have to stop.”
Susie Shannon is trying to prevent bullying.
So is Kieran Felts.
And now, in California, 11-year-old Daniel Gonzalez is getting the message as well.
“It doesn’t matter who it is,” said Daniel, a student at Terra Cotta, in an interview with the Times. “Don’t bully them.”