“During the 2011 school year, there were over 100 incidences of violence in this school. Some of you might be surprised by that amount. However what’s even more surprising is that there are still many other cases of bullying and violence that don’t get reported.” Students of the McCormack Middle School in Dorchester were presented with this alarming fact during three anti-bullying presentations made today by the Community Programs Team at Harbor Health Services, Inc (HHSI).
Designated as “Blackout Bullying Day” at the school, students and staff wore black clothing to show support for the cause. HHSI staff unveiled the “Speak Up” anti-bullying campaign posters that incorporated actual McCormack alumni as models for the cause. Encouraging students to “speak up” about bullying that is happening to themselves or classmates can be difficult as it can be seen as “tattle-taling.” The presentation stressed that telling a grown-up about physical or emotional bullying is a serious issue; students that are bullied are less likely to come to school, more likely to perform poorly academically and may develop depression or low self-esteem.
The subject of bullying had been incorporated into the health classes at the school and many of the students were familiar with the Community Programs Team from previous presentations so this event was something of a cultimation that lead to a new chapter in anti-bullying at MCCormack Middle School.
Ryan Ribeiro, Director of Community Programs, closed the presentations by reitering the simple goal of the campaign; something that all the students, staff and parents can agree with: “No one deserves to be put down or made to feel bad about themselves.”