On Halloween Day, students at Lithonia Middle School learned about monsters, but not the scary movie kind. They learned about the bullying kind as part of the “Don’t Be a Monster” anti-bullying campaign presented by Netherworld Haunted House of Norcross.
“Every seven seconds someone is bullied and then one out of every seven students is bullied,” Netherworld’s Jesse Hamrick told the middle schoolers. “That comes out to 160,000 students staying home every year due to bullying.
“This is a pretty serious topic,” he said.
Hamrick told the students about various types of bullying, including cyberbullying.
“Cyberbullying is probably the worst of them all because it can last 24 hours [a day] and can be relentless,” Hamrick said.
The 30-minute program encouraged students to report all incidents of bullying to school staff.
“It’s OK to report bullying, seriously,” Hamrick said. “Nobody will think badly or negatively of you. The majority of us…are bystanders. We don’t do anything. We just kind of stand on the sidelines and watch it happen.”
The star of the presentation was Frank Shelly, a Frankenstein-inspired young monster who suffers from bullying in school. Students watched a video about Frank being bullied. At the end of the video, students screamed as he appeared on stage. They had the opportunity to shake Frank’s hand as they left the assembly.
Lisa McGhee, Lithonia Middle’s principal, said she brought the program to the school “to make sure our students understand…that bullying is not allowed. It’s not something that we tolerate at Lithonia Middle School.”
McGhee said the school’s counseling department talks to every class about bullying.
Bullying is a problem in the nation, McGhee said.
“I do understand that students are bullied daily on a regular basis but I think we try to make sure to tell the kids to…report any bully incidents and we try to handle it swiftly,” she said.
McGhee said the school also makes it a priority to notify the parents of students who are bullied or are doing the bullying.
“Sometimes they just don’t know,” she said. “They don’t know the extent of it.”
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