Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"The Senior Prank" Inspiring, empowering. NO MORE BULLYING

Teasing, Taunting.  Bullying.  No matter what words you use, it is still harmful and sometimes deadly.  And a parent's worst nightmare.  I am sure we all worry about our child being bullied, but I know I worry more about children with special needs.  We all know they can easily become the target of bullying and it is very hard for them to defend themselves.  It is up to us to advocate and educate.

The numbers continue to rise every month...

- It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students. Source: National Education Association.
- American schools harbor approximately 2.1 million bullies and 2.7 million of their victims. Dan Olweus, National School Safety Center.
- 1 in 7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
- 56% of students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
- 15% of all school absenteeism is directly related to fears of being bullied at school.
- 71% of students report incidents of bullying as a problem at their school.
- 1 out of 20 students has seen a student with a gun at school.
- 282,000 students are physically attacked in secondary schools each month.
- Those in the lower grades reported being in twice as many fights as those in the higher grades. However, there is a lower rate of serious violent crimes in the elementary level than in the middle or high schools.
- 90% of 4th through 8th graders report being victims of bullying
- Among students, homicide perpetrators were more than twice as likely as homicide victims to have been bullied by peers.
- Bullying statistics say revenge is the strongest motivation for school shootings.
- 87% of students said shootings are motivated by a desire to “get back at those who have hurt them.”
- 86% of students said, “other kids picking on them, making fun of them or bullying them” causes teenagers to turn to lethal violence in the schools.
- 61% of students said students shoot others because they have been victims of physical abuse at home.
- 54% of students said witnessing physical abuse at home can lead to violence in school.
- According to bullying statistics, 1 out of every 10 students who drops out of school does so because of repeated bullying.
- Harassment and bullying have been linked to 75% of school-shooting incidents.

Bullying can take many forms but it usually includes the following types of behavior:
• Physical – hitting, kicking, pinching, punching, scratching, spitting or any other form of physical attack. Damage to or taking someone else’s belongings may also constitute as physical bullying.
• Verbal – name calling, insulting, making racist, sexist or homophobic jokes, remarks or teasing, using sexually suggestive or abusive language, offensive remarks
• Indirect – spreading nasty stories about someone, exclusion from social groups, being made the subject of malicious rumours, sending abusive mail, and email and text messages (cyber bullying).
• Cyber Bullying - any type of bullying that is carried out by electronic medium. There are 7 types including:
1. Text message bullying
2. Picture/video clip bullying via mobile phone cameras
3. Phone call bullying via mobile phones
4. E-mail bullying
5. Chat-room bullying
6. Bullying through instant messaging (IM)
7. Bullying via websites

Bully Related Suicide

Suicide remains among the leading causes of death of children under 14. And in most cases, the young people die from hanging. (AAS)
A new review of studies from 13 countries found signs of an apparent connection between bullying, being bullied, and suicide. (Yale School of Medicine)
Suicide rates among children between the ages of 10 & 14 are very low, but are "creeping up." (Ann Haas, Director of the Suicide Prevention Project at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention)
The suicide rate among young male adults in Massachusetts rose 28 percent in 2007. However, that does not reflect deaths among teenagers and students Carl's age. (Massachusetts Dept. of Public Health, in a report released April 8, 2009)
• Since 2002, at least 15 schoolchildren ages 11 to 14 have committed suicide in Massachusetts. Three of them were Carl's age. ("Constantly Bulled, He Ends His Life at Age 11," by Milton J. Valencia. The Boston Globe, April 20, 2009)
• Suicide rates among 10 to 14-year-olds have grown more than 50 percent over the last three decades. (The American Association of Suicidology, AAS)
• In 2005 (the last year nationwide stats were available), 270 children in the 10-14 age group killed themselves. (AAS)

In a 2007 study, 86% of LGBT students said that they had experienced harassment at school during the previous year. (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network -- GLSEN)
Research indicates that LGB youth may be more likely to think about and attempt suicide than heterosexual teens. (GLSEN)
In a 2005 survey, students said their peers were most often bullied because of their appearance, but the next top reason was because of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender expression. ("From Teasing to Torment: School Climate of America" -- GLSEN and Harris Interactive)
According to the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network 2007 National School Climate Survey of more than 6,000 students...
• Nearly 9 out of 10 LGBT youth reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year because of their sexual orientation
• Nearly half (44.1 percent) reported being physically harassed
• About a quarter (22.1 percent) reported being physically assaulted.
• Nearly two-thirds (60.8 percent) who experienced harassment or assault never reported the incident to the school
• Of those who did report the incident, nearly one-third (31.1 percent) said the school staff did nothing in response

It is everywhere.  And those who are bullied need us to advocate, educate and support the end of bullying.

Mother's plea after young boy with Down syndrome publicly teased on social networking site Facebook

FAIR GO: Josh Finters enjoys time with his dog and is unaware of the taunts young children have been directing at him. Source:Quest Newspapers
Bayside mother Julie Finter has spoken out about a bullying incident directed at her son Josh who suffers down syndrome. She claims children filmed their taunts and then put the footage on Facebook
The serious nature of her complaint to the community needs to be told, and what better way to do it than through the eyes of a mother.
Julie has five children and her middle son Josh was born with down syndrome 23 years ago.
When I met the family on Monday I noticed Josh's cheeky and trusting nature, along with a big passion for playstation and riding his bike.
He has no idea the three young girls who filmed him were teasing him about his disability. And he especially doesn't understand they uploaded the footage on Facebook.
Julie says by exposing this incident she hopes to encourage parents to talk to their children about respecting others.
``Most people are really good with Josh but this latest incident has really concerned my family and this is why I came forward,'' she said

While Julie applauds the school involved and believes the incident has been resolved she still wanted to go public.
``Josh hasn't got a mean bone in is body and I wanted to get him out there to give him an identity.''
``I want people to realise this has happened and not just hide this away.''

A soon to be released film, "The Senior Prank" hopes to educate about the harmful ways of bullying.

'The Senior Prank' Movie Filmed at Great Harvest Bread Co. in Lorton

Director Donald Leow, of Clifton, tackles bullying and redemption in the independent film.

Actor Frank Stephens and Director Donald Leow after filming a scene for "The Senior Prank", at Great Harvest Bread Co. in Lorton on Monday, Aug. 20, 2012. 
On Monday, Lorton's Great Harvest Bread Co. hosted "The Senior Prank," a new independent film about high school bullies who, as the ultimate prank, set up a girl with Down Syndrome to be the homecoming queen.
The scenes were shot just outside the coffee shop and inside at the counter. It was a near-perfect day for shooting — overcast and cool. The film crew worked from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., and at the end of the day, the work will amount to less than five minutes worth of footage. 
'The Senior Prank' Plot 
New student Cara Jarvis (Stacey Bradhaw) wants to be popular, but feels that her new friendship with Grace (Amber House), a student with Down Syndrome, is holding her back. In the struggle to get the guy and win popular friends, Cara sets Grace up to be the homecoming queen as a senior prank. But the plan backfires and Cara is humiliated. 
"This is more a movie about bullying than it is about Down Syndrome," said director Donald Leow, of Clifton. "The finished product will be 90-100 minutes long, and if a major distributor picks up this film, I feel like a few acting careers will go far."
The message of the film is universal, said executive producer Steve Woolwine. "I think that everyone has been bullied in some form or another throughout their lives," he said. "The trouble with our society is that you can be a bully even if you don't stand up and say that it's wrong. You might not be committing the act, but you're with the crowd who does."
Monday's scenes involved a conversation between Cara and her mom, Sharon (Kera O'Bryon) outside the shop, and then inside at the counter with Great Harvest Baristas Quinn (Sara Cicilian) and Ben (Frank Stephens). Ben has Down Syndrom, and Quinn openly mocks him in front of customers. 
"Yeah, my character basically has no shame," said Cicilian, "but she turns over a new leaf by the end of the film. I'm definitely not this mean in real life." 
Great Harvest employees had the opportunity to be background actors. "We were walking up to check things out and the guy with the blue shirt asked, 'Are you my extras?' and we said, 'We are if you want us to be!'" said Lynn Schmauder who was filmed along with her 16-year-old daughter, Jill. 
"I didn't think there would be so much equipment!" said Great Harvest co-owner Jeff Connelly to Patch. "We're usually closed on Monday, but we're actually doing pretty good business." 
Six months from now, "The Senior Prank" will be edited and ready for distribution. The seemingly innocent conversations that will go on for less than five minutes took about eight hours to film on Aug. 20, 2012. 


Be gentle.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Love reading your thoughts. Please leave us a comment.