Bullying is one of the largest forms of violence in schools today. In fact, 1 out of 4 kids is bullied and over 43% of adolescents have been bullied online. Christiansburg’s Alexandra Wolff is an advocate for stopping the violence after enduring it herself throughout middle school in Maryland. She is here today to discuss her experience and how to make sure other children do not go through what she was forced to go through. Alexandra, what was it like for you to endure such terrible criticism from your peers?
FOR A LOT OF TIME I KEPT IT TO MYSELF BECAUSE I FELT LIKE I WAS A TARGET AND A VICTIM, AND IT WAS VERY EMBARRASSING AND I WAS ALMOST ASHAMED THAT THIS WAS HAPPENING TO ME. I FELT LIKE, ‘WHY DO I HAVE TO BE THE DIFFERENT ONE? WHY CAN’T I BE NORMAL AND BE WITH OTHER KIDS, YOU KNOW?’
So, was there anyone within the school who would help you?
MY FOURTH GRADE TEACHER WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO EVER NOTICED IT. HE USED TO REARRANGE THE ROOM ALL OF THE TIME SO HE WOULD MAKE SURE THAT I WOULD BE IN HIS VIEW AND THAT THE OTHER STUDENTS WHO BULLIED ME WOULD BE AWAY FROM ME.
What would you say are some of the main signs or symptoms of a child who is being bullied?
I THINK ONE OF THE MAJOR SIGNS IS YOUR KID WILL NOT WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL. THEY WILL BE AFRAID, THEY WILL BE CRYING ON THE WEEKENDS. THEY WILL BE REALLY ANXIOUS TO GO BACK BECAUSE THEY WILL FEEL LIKE ALL THEIR PEERS ARE AGAINST THEM, THEY WON’T BE ABLE TO TRUST…NOT BEING ABLE TO ENJOY ACTIVITIES THEY ONCE DID ENJOY. CHANGING IN EATING HABITS, SLEEPING
So, finally you decided enough was enough and I understand that you went to Maryland legislators to seek some kind of conclusion, to see if there was something that they could do to stop the bullying. Tell us about that.
THE BILL WAS TO DEFINE THE MODERN POLICY FOR BULLYING AND IT WAS TO TELL WHAT YOU DO IF YOU ARE BEING BULLIED, WHERE TO GO TO, HOW TO END BULLYING, HOW TO CONTACT THE PARENT. I MEAN, IT WAS JUST A WHOLE LONG LIST OF DIFFERENT THINGS YOU HAD TO GO THROUGH.
Alexandra worked tirelessly with legislators to get a law passed requiring Maryland schools to do more to prevent bullying. Thanks to her, and others like her, we are taking steps to stop bullying. If you or someone you know is being bullied, you can go to www.stompoutbullying.org to not only get help, but to help others get help. Let’s all lend a hand to stop the drama and end bullying for good.