Standing Up to Bullying


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According to the National Bullying Prevention Center, nearly one-third of all school-aged children are bullied each year - upwards of 13 million students.

Nathan Cieslak, a fifth-grade student at Old Forge Elementary who began a bullying awareness campaign throughout the district and community, has teamed up with Old Forge High School students to participate in "Unity Day" in the Old Forge School District on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Unity Day is a national effort to raise awareness and education about bullying.

As part of their senior project, Brian Finnerty, Derek Drasba, John Vols and David Rudalavage wanted to focus on this cause because no matter what age or grade, "everyone at one time or another has been bullied or has witnessed bullying."

Several events have been scheduled for this day including, presentations, a school-wide pledge, classroom-based lessons and an awareness assembly for students.

According to the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (nctsn.org), bullying can be verbal, physical, or via the Internet. It can severely affect the victim's self-image, social interactions and school performance, often leading to insecurity, lack of self-esteem and depression in adulthood. School dropout rates and absences among victims of bullying are much higher than among other students.

Moreover, studies have shown that children who have been identified as a bully by age eight are six times more likely to have a criminal conviction by age 24. The NCTSN further states that children who are bullies may continue to be bullies as adults and are more prone to becoming child and spouse abusers.

Nathan has designed and sold more than 250 T-shirts that will be worn by students and staff on this day.

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