by HALEY MILLAN Editor-in-chief
Monroe Township Middle School seventh grade students began a petition on the White House’s website known as, “Bullies: Knocking down potential. Let’s move to a better future!”
Although there is the New Jersey Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, there is no law at the federal level to mandate bullying. This proposal asks for the White House to take action against the nation’s ongoing bullying dilemma.
A healthy mental and emotional state is necessary to live a healthy life, which is why this movement fits will with Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” program. The First Lady’s program is practiced across the country, yet not every state has anti-bullying laws to coincide with the mental health part of the program.
The White House will only respond to the petition if the seventh graders are able to get 100,000 signatures by April 11. They need the help of the entire community in order for this movement to make a real mark.
The students are trying to make a difference and are a part of Ms. Lowden’s social studies classes; they have learned about ancient Rome and the plebeians who stood up for their beliefs against the government. These students want to have their voices heard as well.
Over three million students are victims of bullying each year. More than half of students have said that they have witnessed someone being bullied, and sadly only four percent of teachers have ever intervened between a bully and victim.
“I think it is really cool that the seventh graders are trying to get their own law passed, especially something that has become such a problem in our country. When I was in seventh grade, I didn’t do anything that could leave behind such a big impact. They can really make a difference,” says senior Colleen Gerndt.
Bullying can have a tremendous negative impact on a person’s life. A student’s social and academic growth can be impaired if that student decides to skip or drop out of school due to bullying. Approximately 160,000 students skip school daily because they are victims of bullying; in 2011, almost five million bullying victims dropped out of public schools.
New Jersey introduced the anti-bullying law in 2010, which stipulated that teachers attend bullying workshops, where they learn to deal with bullying, intimidation, harassment, and suicide prevention.
“Bullying has become such a problem in this country and I think it’s time that a bigger enforcement actually does something about it. People need to be educated about what is considered bullying, and everyone needs to learn how to prevent and stand up to the bullies,” says senior Alexandra Palmer.
Schools are meant to be a place of education, but some students cannot focus on their schoolwork due to bullying. For some victims, school no longer protects them against teasing and bullying as it should.
However, by getting the White House to recognize this movement, our country will move one step closer to ending the bullying epidemic and returning schools to the safe environments they are meant to be.
Are you going to sign the petition to be apart of the “face our future” movement?