BOSTON (CBS) – Kids play a critical role in the effort to stop bullying even though it’s not always easy. Tuesday, some of them shared their success stories at a conference that aims to encourage kids to become allies and stick up for one another in the face of a bully.
About 1,200 students from Massachusetts and Vermont gathered at the Park Plaza Hotel in Boston to unite against school bullying.
The conference is sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League.
WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez reports.
The middle and high school students attended several workshops meant to empower them to stand up against bullying.
Brandi Norden, a senior at Soneham High School, is no stranger to bullying. As a freshman she wanted to be different and cut off all her hair. She says that one decision changed the way some of her classmates treated her, “I was in study hall and he shouted out a derogatory name insinuating that I was gay.”
Corrie Bradley, a high school junior, says she became a victim to constant harassment in middle school. “People would throw things at me,” she said. “Joke about me to my face… put soap in my mouth.”
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Bernice Corpuz reports.
She has narcolepsy, and before it was treated she’d sleep in class. Through tears she describes how being bullied years ago still affects her. “You can’t really stand up for yourself because you’re so vulnerable, I guess. I was depressed for awhile,” she said.
Now both girls are standing up for themselves and others. They’re peer leaders in this year’s anti-bullying forum by the Anti-Defamation League. Here they tackle the tough questions, like why kids bully.
“They’re afraid of what they don’t understand,” says Norden, who also explained why some students are likely targets over others. “They’re scared that because they’re different they’re weaker.”
A total of 1,100 Massachusetts students attended the day-long event at the Park Plaza Castle and Hotel in Boston. Some wore t-shirts that read “The Power Of One” on the back.
Organizers say the goal is to bring everyone together and make them an ally in the fight against bullying.
“That’s why I became a peer leader to make it aware that what people say and do hurts,’ says Bradley, again fighting back her tears.
The state implemented anti-bullying legislation last year. Educators now have to provide instruction to students on how to prevent bullying and create a plan to report and intervene if a situation escalates.
WBZ-TV’s Diana Perez contributed to this report.