Bullying is nothing new. From the beginning of time there have been people who have used threat, intimidation, and force to exert their will over others. If we’re honest with ourselves, we can all recall times in our lives when we’ve been the targets of bullies. In fact, the names and faces of those who have threatened and embarrassed us are easy to recall, no matter how many years in the past those incidents took place.
The difficult truth is that there will always be people who feel the need to use their power to aggressively control or harm others. Unfortunately, preaching a message that bullying is bad has never done much to put an end to this type of behavior. Sure, we can do our best to be on the lookout for bullying and protect those who are targets, but the truth is that, even here, we can’t be a part of every conversation or interaction that takes place. So, despite our best effort, it still happens. And with the advent of social media, bullying has now moved from the relatively limited confines of the playground or locker room to a much broader audience on the worldwide web.
Think back again to the times in your life when you’ve been bullied. Wouldn’t it have been great if someone had told you how to effectively deal with it? Imagine if someone had given you a few simple techniques on how to avoid becoming a target or how to respond when someone tried to physically or verbally intimidate you or someone you knew. We’re going to try to do that here. We’ve formed a partnership with the Knights Lights group at Kenowa Hills High School to provide monthly seminars here at the 3 Mile Project to equip young people with tools to respond to bullying. Knights Lights is a group of high school students who are passionate about helping young people deal with bullying. Many of them have stories to share about being bullied. Some of them admit to having been bullies themselves. So once a month they’ll be here during our open hours, sharing practical tips on how to respond to bullying. They’ll provide a brief twenty minute presentation that our visitors can choose to attend and then stick around to answer questions and interact with younger students. The first presentation will take place on Friday, May 2, for our 7th & 8th graders and again on Thursday, June 5 for our 5th & 6th graders, and then continuing to alternate on a monthly basis.
Bullying is ugly, hurtful, and dangerous. We will continue to do everything in our power to put a stop to it here at the 3 Mile Project and to help those who bully recognize that being mean and hurtful does not lead to an abundant life. In addition, however, we want to help young people put some practical tools in their toolbox that will help them overcome bullying when they experience it. Thanks to the Knights Lights for helping us make this happen!
– Stan, Executive Director