KELLER (CBSDFW.COM) – Pushing. Shoving. Derogatory slurs and gossip… whether physical or verbal, bullying can bruise a child or young adult’s ego well into adulthood. Research has shown how devastating the effects of bullying are. Children who were bullied often suffer from psychiatric troubles into adulthood compared to those who weren’t bullied. They may have difficulty holding down a job. The seeds of fear and anxiety planted by incessant humiliation may lead to poor relationship choices as adults resulting in abuse. It’s a serious issue, one that students in the Keller Independent School District want to raise awareness about with an aggressive new anti-bullying campaign.
“Reaching Out With Character And Kindness” or “ROCK,” is a campaign, which includes a reality TV-style video to advocate for victims of bullies. Thirty-three-thousand students joined hands at schools across the district last month in a show of solidarity.
“It means that we are all one team together and that we are alike and we shouldn’t bully each other,” said eight grade student Morgan Gutchess.
The district is taking a stand with support from students, faculty and parents. They want to encourage respect collectively for all students. The District believes bullying, discrimination, intimidation, violence and other similar disruptive behavior are detrimental to the establishment of a safe and civil learning environment.
“It symbolizes that we are all friends. We are equal. I can’t hurt you. If I’m going to hold your hand here I’m going to say that we are friends and I’m not going to turn around and do something mean to you,” said educator Dorothy Loftin.
In a few weeks, the campaign videos will hit TV screens in every classroom. Produced in a paparazzi-style, the videos are meant to engage students with relatable scenarios.
“Normally you would just watch a video that was made 10 or 15 years ago and you’re like ‘wow, cool that would never happen to me,’ or ‘I would never do that,’ so actually seeing it in today’s society and having a group of students talk about it — other than parents — I feel like kids will be more apt to listen to us and just respond to the things that they see,” said Keller High School student Lydia Smith.
Smith admits that she was bullied in school.
“Most of the bullying that you do receive is verbal; like if you say something in class someone would be like ‘oh my gosh you are so stupid — why would you say that?'”
Associate Principal at Keller High School, John Taylor said he wants students to know there’s a zero-tolerance policy for bullying in schools.
“This is a place where bullying is just not acceptable,” said Taylor.
Long acknowledged as a problem for students, schools, parents and public policy makers alike, bullying will hopefully one day become an issue of the past. “ROCK” is definitely a proactive step forward in the right direction.