I remember walking into the Broward County Public Schools headquarters in the winter of 2008. This is the sixth largest school district in the United States and at the time they were just developing an anti-bullying policy. The district was leading efforts by all school districts in Florida to comply with a new statewide anti-bullying law.
Think about that — only four years ago. In my conversation with the two smart women who ran the Broward County Anti-bullying Task Force, I said, “The Humanity Project program will be intended to help students understand one basic idea: bullying is not cool! Right now, kids see bullies as the cool people, the students to admire because they’re so tough or cruel. Bullying won’t stop until that changes. The Humanity Project anti-bullying program will connect with elementary school kids and help create an environment where bystanders will see that bullying isn’t cool … and will help to stop it.” They invited the Humanity Project to join that task force, which we did, working as a team to create a powerful anti-bullying policy that became a statewide model. Now in 2012, this idea is catching on, here in Florida and around the United States. The Humanity Project’s acclaimed Anti-bullying Through The Arts program has years of statistical data to show that kids do change their view of bullying as a result of our program. They recognize that bullying is a problem for everyone … that bullying really is uncool. It’s gratifying to see that a huge new movie called ”Bully” is coming out with very much this same message. Just yesterday, I received an email to the Humanity Project, sent by a teen in the Houston, Texas area. Here’s what it said in part: ”My name is Kaitlyn K, I’m 15 yrs old and a student of Cyranch High school. Bullying is something I’ve experienced first hand and witnessed throughout my school years and it’s a major issue which seems to be spiraling out of control! Both parents and other adults have been trying to intercept and do something to stop the bullying ‘trend’ but bully’s continue to get away with it, mostly because us, their peers often turn a blind eye and let them! Today at my school we’re coming together to do the opposite and say to EVERYONE who picks on others or make people feel small – Who Do You Think You Are? Bullying is NOT cool!” Wow. It’s inspiring for the Humanity Project to watch this clear, simple message catch on. Bullying, at long last, is not cool. And it’s about time.