Teen Leads the Way in Anti-Bullying Walk
Nicole Bettinelli is a freshman at Chelmsford High School and passionate about putting a stop to bullying.
Nicole Bettinelli, a freshman at Chelmsford High School, knows what it's like to be the target of bullying. The local teen is now organizing an anti-bullying walk, Stand Up and Walk with Me, tomorrow at 9 a.m. at the high school track.
Q: Why did you decide to organize this walk?
A: I decided to organize this event because I have witnessed bullying since the second grade and have felt strongly about treating everyone fairly and kind ever since then. I also feel that there is not enough awareness on the significance of bullying and I know that it costs money to bring in anti-bullying programs.
Q: Why do you think so much bullying still goes unreported? Do you think Chelmsford High is doing a good job raising awareness or does more need to be done?
A: Bystanders that witness bullying are often afraid to become victims if they confront the bullying behavior and report it so that contributes to the lack of reporting. Victims also are afraid to report bullying because of the fear of worse retalliation. One possible solution is to focus on prevention of bullying behaviors then that would eliminate the need for reporting. Another thought is to develop programs and processes that empower victims and witnesses to report the bullying.
I think that Chelmsford High School is doing the best that it can to raise awareness with the limited funding that is available. The purpose of the walk is to help raise funding to be able to provide more anti-bullying initiatives and prevention programs.
Q: Is the walk a certain distance around the track? Do students register to walk, and that's how money is raised?
A: The walk is not a specific distance, it is whatever the participants can do. The participants register to walk and we are hoping that they will donate $10 to walk, basically it is a fee to walk but we will not turn anyone away.
Q: What kind of bullying prevention programs would you like to see at the schools?
A: There are several programs that are currently available that focus on bullying prevention. One example is the sharing of Ryan Halligan's story by John Halligan. This program focuses on recognizing bullying behaviors and what the long term effects of bullying can have on families. I would like to see more programs that are directed at the actual bullies and why they behave the way that they do. There is currently a movie titled Bully that is in theaters and is a documentary of the lives of the victims. Movies like this are powerful ways to communicate. Another area that does not recieve enough focus is empowering teachers to confront bullies. Only 14% of all teachers that witness bullying behavior actually do something about it.
Q: Has it been a lot of work to organize the event?
A: This event has been a huge amount of work and time. I am extremely passionate about this epidemic so it has all been worth it. I have gotten a lot of support from many people. Without the help of Dr. Tiano this event would not have happened. Many other people have helped me especially Principal O'Bryant, Dean Galante, Mr. Parks, Mr. McAuliffe as well as my parents and family. As I said many many other people have also helped me, the list is very long.