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Katie Erdman

Talking it Over: Don't be a bully at any age

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The other day I stopped at the Hancock School to listen to a presentation on bullying. The students conducting the program were from the Morris Area High School and did a wonderful job of getting the message across about the consequences of bullying.

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These students did some skits, played a game, showed video and gave some personal testimony about how bullying affected them personally and their friends. It was an eye-opening experience and hopefully it will help in some small way.

We hear a lot about bullying today, but it is not a new experience for students. There was bullying years ago when I went to school and I am sure there was also bullying in the years before and after. It is a simple fact that some people feel the need to 'pick' on others.

I think that bullying today is brought to light more because of new technology. Emails and texting make bullying more wide-spread and even viral. It is not just a matter of one person picking on another, but of how many people with which you can share your opinions and even embarrassing pictures.

I can think of a few people who were bullied regularly when I was in school and I always felt so bad for them. In some cases, those bad memories of school days, stay with you throughout your lifetime.

However, bullying does not quit after you graduate. There are still times when you can be bullied on the job, in organizations and among your peers at any age. Sometimes a person who bullies at the high school level, continues to be a bully throughout their life.

One of the things these students suggested for a person who is bullied, was to use their voice. To tell the other person to stop and if that doesn't work, to tell other people. I think this is a great idea and hopefully those who hear about the bullying, will take action.

For example, if you hear someone express this to you or a friend, stop what you or doing or get them to stop. If someone comes to you about bullying, do what you can to get the bully to stop. If it is your child being bullied or someone tells you that your child is doing the bullying, get them help so the cycle can stop.

There is no place for bullys in this world. We all need to accept that each person is an individual with their own beliefs, actions, ways of acting, dressing and speaking. It is not our place to judge, and as these students communicated, unless you have walked in the shoes of others, it is not our place to criticize them.

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