News: Faculty, community, students take stand against bullying
Story by Lance Cpl. Tabitha Bartley
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. - Students and facility members from the Quantico Middle/High School attended a bullying prevention seminar presented by community members, faculty members and students in the Quantico Middle/High School gymnasium on Friday.
“It’s happening everywhere there are children,” said Michael A. Johnson, Quantico Middle/High School principal. “The students here need to know that it will never be tolerated here.”
Those attending watched videos made by students across the nation and heard fellow classmates read letters from students in the school. The members of the community who attended discussed different forms of bullying and the legal retributions that can happen if caught partaking in bullying.
“Once you say something, you can’t take it back,” said Trish Sowell, Quantico Middle/Senior High School, school liaison. “Spreading rumors and saying hurtful things about someone can leave emotional wounds we might not be able to see.”
Five students were given a piece of paper to crumble up and then try and straighten out to show them that not everything that has been done, can be undone.
The four forms of bullying are verbal, social, physical and cyber. Videos were shown of students being picked on for how they look, not being included and being bullied over the internet.
“To stop bullying, it must start with you,” said Latoya Cheatman, Family Advocacy Program representative. “If there are no heroes to save you, you must be the hero.”
Joseph P. Riley, Marine Corps Base Quantico chief of police spoke about legal actions that can be taken against bullies, what someone can be charged with and how that can affect their families including being banned from base.
“It’s an issue that needs to be taken seriously,” said Riley. “There are children being prosecuted all across the United States, and even in your backyard, for bullying.”
If convicted, a person’s criminal record can affect them for the rest of their lives, said Riley.
“There are two things I always tell my officers,” said Riley. “Do the right thing in the absence of leadership, and treat everyone with dignity and respect. If you do those two things you won’t have anything to worry about.”
Four students who attended the bullying prevention summit in Washington, D.C., over the summer asked their fellow classmates to take a stand against bullying.
“If you just stand by and let it happen, you are a bully, too,” said Elisa, Quantico Middle/Senior High School junior. “We need to stand up and stop it. Don’t be a bully and don’t be a bystander.”
Johnson ended the seminar with a moment of silence telling the students to listen to the cries and tears of all of the students being bullied throughout America and challenging the students to be taking a stand.
“Do the right thing and take a stand,” said Johnson. “We are all charged with making sure you feel safe coming to school and we will make sure every student does.”