Carmel, N.Y. – (3/22/12) – Students from all over Putnam County joined Senator Greg Ball (R, C – Patterson) over pizza and soda to share their stories on bullying, and how it has affected their lives and education.
The roundtable, hosted by Senator Greg Ball and the Putnam County Youth Bureau, gave students the opportunity to have an open dialogue with one another on how bullying is handled within their schools, where to seek help when being bullied, and how Senator Ball and local officials can make a difference.
“Unlike when many of us were kids, bullying no longer stops when a kid gets off the bus. The advent of the internet and all social connected media has made bullying a stressful, debilitating 24-7 assault,” Senator Ball said. “While we cannot protect our children from all of the world’s various ills, bullying has become epidemic with tragedies that truly could have been prevented. Every kid should be able to enjoy an education free of harassment and intimidation. This legislation makes such a hope a priority and raises the overall level of awareness, allowing kids to grow into kind, strong adults.”
Senator Ball reviewed the “Dignity for All Students Act” (A.3661/S.1987), or “Dignity,” a measure intended to combat bullying in New York State’s public schools, and his “LEAD (Law to Encourage the Acceptance of All Differences) legislation (S.4921) with the students.
“I think the root of the problem has to be stopped by education and positive reinforcement,” said Emma Mitchell of Mahopac High School. “I think with more meetings and involvement with the kids, having a connection between adults and kids our age is very important.”
“Youth today are faced with many challenges including the very sensitive issue of bullying,” said Janeen Cunningham, Deputy Director of the Putnam County Youth Bureau. “It is important that their voices are heard and that they are made aware of the proposed Dignity for All Students Act to be implemented by all school districts. This roundtable gives Putnam County youth the opportunity to speak freely in a safe environment. Senator Ball has always been very receptive to the youth of Putnam County and the issues they are facing. It is not every day a State Senator asks students their opinion and our youth are fortunate to be given this opportunity.”
During the meeting, students discussed how bullying can be avoided, and what to do when bullying occurs. Peer mediation and more communication between students, administrators and teachers were among the suggestions made by students.
“I think that bullying is something that needs to be stopped. It will take us a long time to get there because it starts at the home. If you want to really kick this thing we should spread awareness to people’s homes,” said Mahopac High School student Chelsea Saunders. “I thought today was awesome. People got to share their opinions and very important, useful information.”
Senator Ball is currently working with his Student Advisory Council to get guest speakers and High School Students into local Middle Schools to speak about the negative effects of bullying.
For more information on Senator Ball’s Student Advisory Council, or to speak with Senator Ball, please contact Krista Gobins at (845) 531-9796.