Bullying | Page 6 | Not in Our Town


Palo Alto High interviews younger brother Noah Hornikat It Gets Indie last year. Photo Courtesy of Julian Hornik. When Julian Hornik was cyber-bullied for being gay, he didn’t have to worry about having anything but the full support from his family. In middle school, the young musician found derogatory comments on YouTube videos of his performances. Classmates created a Facebook page that targeted him for being gay. With the support of his family, he said it wasn’t hard for him to “push it away.” Julian and his younger brother Noah are part of an extended family of people who support LGBT rights. While Noah has not personally experienced bullying, he believes the internet allows people to feel “safer and more confident” when they bully and harass others. “They don’t have to see the impact,” Noah said. “People will go a lot farther.”
Marshalltown, IA residents have been emptying their shopping bags to find invitations to join the stand against hate. In late July, the NIOT Marshalltown group printed pledge forms and inserted them as bag stuffers at various local stores. By signing the form, Marshalltown community members would pledge to "take a stand against any and ALL hateful actions," reject discriminatory actions, speak up in the face of hateful actions and commit to change. Residents were then encouraged to return the signed pledge to the business, school or church from which they originally received the slip. The Times-Republican will then print a free ad listing the names of the pledged, intending to show the community-wide support of the movement against hate and bullying. Meanwhile, Marshalltown welcomed President Barack Obama Tuesday afternoon. As part of his three-day campaign of Iowa, Obama spoke in Miller Middle School's gym.
                  When Susan Guess of Paducah, KY learned that her 8-year-old daughter was being bullied by a classmate, she was devastated. “I’m a 37-year-old mom, with a very close and open relationship with my child, yet she kept that information private from me,” she said. Guess asked her daughter Morgan what was going on and was finally told the truth about being bullied at school. “This was an eye opening experience about how little I and the school knew about bullying,” Guess said. “There was so much ignorance.” Guess became increasingly concerned about her child and other children who suffer in silence, so she and Morgan decided to open the conversation about bullying and share their story. Guess met with school leaders to raise awareness about the growing problem of bullying at their school. She also launched an anti-bullying campaign that would raise money to bring the film Bully and Director Lee Hirsch to their town.
Today we share with you one of our newest supporters, Katie, a 13-year-old from Glencoe, IL. We are so grateful to those who feel compelled to look behind the camera and support our work. We invite you to join Katie and donate to Not In Our Town.  
On Sunday, the citizens of Marshalltown, Iowa launched a united effort to help stop bullying before tragedy strikes.  The citywide Not In Our Town campaign is organized by an anti-bullying committee comprised of community, education, civic and law enforcement leaders. This core group of 25 were brought together by the Marshalltown Times-Republican. Through a series of film screenings, community events, and public speakers, the campaign aims to bring all forms of bullying to light to make Marshalltown a safe and inclusive city. "We want to see if we can be ahead of the curve as a community in preventing bullying," said Mike Schlesinger, publisher of the Times-Republican, said in a June 3 article. "We want to look at ways to prevent school bullying, but also workplace bullying, domestic violence and other types of bullying among adults." According to the Times-Republican, a youth survey showed that 41 percent of the city's students had been bullied in the last 30 days, and 11 percent of those students didn't go to school because they felt unsafe. 
Here at Not In Our Town, we have been grateful for the support of our partners at American Federation of Teachers. AFT's efforts to promote the PBS broadcasts of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness and Class Actions and share campaign resources with its network have allowed us to connect with dynamic educators and public employees across the country. We were also thrilled to show a segment of Not In Our Town: Light in the Darkness at AFT's annual Civil, Human and Women's Rights Conference last year in Detroit, and participate in a powerful Town Hall meeting. We are very pleased to share information about AFT's important campaign to respond to and prevent bullying: "See a Bully, Stop a Bully: Make a Difference."
On the Day of Silence, we share with you the story of one middle school that provided the space for all of its students to have their voices heard.  "Forming a Gay Straight Alliance at a middle school requires courage—for the administrator to step up, for the teacher who serves as the advisor, and for each student who walks through that door to be a member." By Dr. Becki Cohn-Vargas, Not In Our School Director My daughter knew she was gay from when she was a young girl, but it wasn’t until middle school that she told me. Not all young people have someone to talk to at that sensitive age.  At Hoover Middle School in the San Francisco Unified School District, teacher Janet Miller learned frightening statistics about her district’s Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) students at a district training. She discovered that transgender youth were the most likely students to attempt suicide. Impassioned, Janet explains that she got on a table and shouted to the staff, "It’s our job and the job of every single person in this room to enforce safety for all students, not just straight ones, so any time you are not doing it, you are not doing your job!”  She convinced the staff that Hoover needed to do something about this serious issue.
  "A school where children don't feel safe is a school where children struggle to learn. It is a school where kids drop out, tune out, and get depressed. Not just violence but bullying, verbal harassment, substance abuse, cyber-bullying, and disruptive classrooms all interfere with a student's ability to learn."   —U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan   Vegas PBS, the public television station that serves Southern Nevada, is taking the lead in linking efforts to address bullying as part of their effort to take action in the school dropout crisis as they are one of the first stations to launch the new nationwide PBS initiative "American Graduate—Let's Make it Happen."   Tina Past, Corporate Communications Director from Vegas PBS shares how they plan to show Not In Our Town: Class Actions as part of their long-term commitment to a community-wide effort to assure all students feel safe at school, achieve academic proficiency, and successfully graduate.   
BULLY hits theaters March 30th!  Please join us in helping this film reach theaters and change lives. Here is how you can help:
"Cyberbullying happens when teens use the internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person." --National Crime Prevention Council In the recent Not In Our School video, "Students Take on Cyberbullying," Watchung Hills Regional High School students confront the threat of cyberbullying--a rapidly growing phenomenon that is uniquely affecting an entire generation of technology-savvy middle and high school students across the nation. In the video, we hear of students who have fallen victim to this increasingly alarming trend. Recent research conducted by the PEW Research Center Internet & American Life Project reported that 88 percent of students surveyed about cyberbullying have witnessed peers being mean or cruel online. Cyberbullying takes bullying to a new level by following students even after they leave school campuses. For a generation that relies heavily on technology in education as well as social platforms, the negative consequences of unfiltered and anonymous interactions on the internet and through mobile phones are leaving their mark. Taking a Stand Against Cyberbullying