October is Anti- Bullying Month. It is a month to recognize the strategies and efforts to prevent this issue that continues to happen in so many schools not just in Rhode Island but, all over the country. A recent report tells us the area where most girls are bullying is online which comes in at 73% of most incidents. For boys 66% of the incidents happen in the hallway. We now know where we can focus our attention in order to prevent the bullying from happening in the first place. We also have information on how the victims feel they are being helped. 51% of children in public schools feel someone rarely or never intervenes when they are being bullied. This tells us that we need to do more. They are feeling this way and we see this in another statistic which says that 76% want someone to intervene but reported only 16% actually do. We need to increase efforts in the areas where it happens most and make sure we are there to stop it before it stops.
Inspired by Anti-Bullying Month, City Year Rhode Island Program Manager Stephen Larbi wrote the poem below:
I wonder if they ever knew what if it felt like to feel pain
Physically and mentally
To be pushed, shoved, hit, kicked, punched
Lied to, belittled, made fun of, called incompetent
Disrespected, treated like you’re not even human
A 2nd class citizen
That is not entitled to feel, breathe, think or simply be happy
If they took the very essence of your being
Who you are, What you like, where you’re from
The color of your skin, the way you dress, speak or walk
All the things that make you, YOU
If you believe them
And you let hate impregnate your mind
Like a cancerous cell, growing each day
Rumors become tumors and inflate in your brain
‘Til you can no longer take it, and it just pops
Louder than the shot heard around the world
Is it because I’m a boy or a girl
Too short or maybe too tall
Skinny, fat, average, quiet, loud
Smart, stupid, poor, different, unique
Or is it because I don’t care what shoes I wear on my feet?
If there has ever been a time in your life
When you felt like you did not belong
And people went out of their way to make sure you could not
Was there ever a time someone else made you cry?
Feel so down to the point you forget how to stand
If someone bullied your loved one
Your mom, dad, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, nephew, your little cousin
How would you feel?
If every day people went out their way to make sure they could not be happy
Before the next time you decide to make fun of somebody
Put them down and bully them
Put yourself in their shoes
And Imagine How would you feel?
Stephen Larbi, Program Manager at Gilbert Stuart Middle School. Stephen graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2011 with a BA in Sociology. During his time on campus he was a large contributor to a newly formed organization Brothers On a New Direction (B.O.N.D) serving for three years as their first community service/mentoring chair and President in his senior year. Upon graduation Stephen joined CYRI as a team leader (’12,’13) and received the 2013 Eli Segal Bridge Builder Award for City Year’s national corps member of the year.