Be part of the CURE for bullying

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

Bullying has come a very, very long way since my middle school days.

At that time, it consisted mainly of prank calls, hallway teasing and on one occasion a particularly clever stunt during PE in which one of the boys in my class put a frog in my pocket without me knowing. The ensuing shriek, I have no doubt, was quality entertainment for him.

The prank calls at home were particularly cruel. The “surprise gifts” in my backpack were quite annoying.

The hallway gossip was brutal. And this was just seventh grade.

As one of the geeky kids (with braces AND playing in the orchestra no less), being bullied kind of came with the territory. But it made life miserable, and I went home crying more times than I care to admit.

Fortunately, I had a good mother, and some good close friends who helped me through it.

It seems, at time, like bullying is considered a rite of passage. But it doesn’t need to be.

These days, bullying has taken on a completely different form.

Oh, it still possesses all of the former tricks. But now, there’s cyber bullying, bullying by text message and I’m sure a variety of other methods.

Cyber bullying recently led a 15-year-old Canadian girl to kill herself after being stalked online and bullied in school.

Sadly, she’s not the first. Deep down, I know she won’t be the last.

The Kentucky Center for School Safety has declared this week’s Kentucky Safe Schools Week theme “Bullying: Be part of the cure.”

The center encourages students, parents, teachers to take the online pledge at kycss.org/bullycure/index.php.

It’s simple.

C: Caring more; considering others feelings.

U: Understanding all: appreciating each others’ differences.

R: Respecting myself: learning to respect myself and others.

E: Educating others: Sharing that I will not bully or allow it.

Stop bullying in its tracks, and be part of the cure.