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:

Bully Poem

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

Imagine

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

Now Imagine

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

I’m confused

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?

Please!
I wonder…

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

Imagine

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.

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