By Matt Rivers
DREXEL HILL, Pa., (CBS) – From verbal bullying to cyber bullying — it’s tough for some young people to safely escape the abuse.
Local schools are working to protect students.
At Bonner Prendergast Catholic High School, a coalition of students, administrators and outside experts are trying to make sure bullying is kept at bay, with students leading the charge.
There’s no easy answer to this problem. Bullying exists in every school in every state nationwide. What happened in Edison Tuesday, (see related story), is the problem at its worst.
“They’re driven to the point where they don’t have enough support and they feel that there’s no outlet,” said Dr. Claudio Cerullo, the founder of Teach Anti-Bullying, Inc., an anti-bullying advocacy group. He has done a lot of work at Bonner Prendergast Catholic High School, lecturing students about bullying and how to fight it. But what he started, the kids picked up and ran with.
“The first day we had 30 people come and the next week we had 55,” said Nick Grandizio, a Bonner Prendie senior.
He started an anti-bullying club, where students can vent about a subject only growing in its reach. Where bullying once stopped once you got of the bus, social media allows it to follow you home — cyber bullying with real consequences.
“It makes you feel excluded from everyone else and it really messes with your emotions,” said Julia, another senior.
But with their club, those emotions can be expressed without ridicule or judgment, kids surrounded by contemporaries, not counselors.
“I think that’s why it’s good we have a club because you can talk to another student about it rather than reach out to an adult,” said Julia.
“We can let it out and we can talk to each other and it’s really helpful,” said Seamus Mekes, another senior.
Experts like Dr. Cerullo said clubs like that are great, but the message needs to be reinforced at home, with parents holding their kids accountable both for what they do at school and online.