Issue of the Month: Bullying

One in four kids in the U.S. is bullied on a regular basis.

As evidenced by the seemingly endless horror stories, school shootings, and suicides; bullying continues to be a major issue around the world.

A unique new anti-bullying message from an organization called “Not in Our School” attacks the  preposterous nature  of bullying by recreating a middle school experience in a professional setting.   The concept is simple: If we  wouldn’t  stand for bullying as adults, why do we allow it to happen in our schools?

Jennifer Livingston’s inspiring story is a real-life example of adult bullying— except that she was able to take a stand.   Jennifer is a morning anchor with WKBT-TV in La Crosse,Wisconsin, and a mother of three young girls.   Although she is aware that, as a television personality, she is subject to criticism from her viewers, Jennifer was shocked when she received an email from one such viewer about her weight.   The email read:

Hi Jennifer,

It’s unusual that I see your morning show, but I did so for a very short time today. I was surprised indeed to witness that your physical condition hasn’t improved for many years.

Surely you don’t consider yourself a suitable example for this community’s young people, girls in particular. Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Recognizing that October is National Anti-Bullying Month (and with infinite support from her loved ones and fans), Jennifer took action by directly addressing her bully on air.   She reminded the viewer that he was not a friend of hers; he knew nothing about her.   “I am much more than a number on a scale,” she said.   She then turned her message into a call to action for parents when she explained, “This behavior is learned.  It is passed down…   If you are at home, and you are talking about the fat news lady — guess what — your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.   We need to teach our kids how to be kind, not critical, and we need to do that by example.”   Lastly, she turned to victims of bullying: “Do not let your self-worth be defined by bullies.”

Jennifer’s story is inspiring.   Unfortunately, kids often don’t have the strength or opportunity to do the same.   We must do our best to raise awareness to the fact that bullying has lifelong impacts. This awareness will cultivate change to protect those kids.   Learn more about National Bullying Prevention Month and how you can get involved.

Watch the anti-bullying message from “Not in Our School.”

Watch Jennifer Livingston take a stand.

Blog post submitted on behalf of Danielle Moushon.

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