DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Students in Dobbs Ferry kicked off National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month on Monday by participating in Blue Shirt Day, which calls attention to the growing issue of bullying in schools. Students will spend October participating in activities to prevent bullying and encourage positive behavior.
The activities were planned as part of the STOMP Out Bullying campaign, as well as Rachel’s Challenge, a program founded in memory of Rachel Scott, a victim of the Columbine High School massacre in 1999. Elena Brown, a Dobbs Ferry freshman and member of the Friends of Rachel Club, helped to coordinate the activities and has been reading bullying facts over the school’s intercom leading up to the anti-bullying events, Dobbs Ferry officials said in a press release.
“Rachel believed that positive words, attitudes and actions can make all the difference in human relationships and our students are up for the challenge,” officials said in the press release. “This is the third year that we’ve had extremely active FOR Clubs and although all schools are held accountable by NYS Bullying laws and The Dignity Act, we have had activities and programs in place for a number of years to address bullying as well as create a culture of positive behavior.”
More than 13 million students are bullied each year and 3 million students miss school each month because of bullying, according to The Bully Project, an organization created in conjunction with the documentary “Bully,” which will be shown at Dobbs Ferry High School. Dobbs Ferry administrators, along with others from across Westchester, met in April to discuss the documentary and ways to prevent bullying. To address this growing problem in the classroom, Dobbs Ferry developed Target Bullying Intervention Programs, which aim to identify and prevent bullying.
The school district is also moving outside the classroom to deliver its anti-bullying message, broadcasting local public service and celebrity announcements to combat bullying on the district’s television station, DFTV.
Along with discussions, making stickers and encouraging selfless acts, the district will celebrate Rachel’s Challenge Day on Oct. 18 with an assembly featuring a speaker from the organization, a video about the Columbine tragedy and advice about how to encourage positive behavior, according to the press release. The Dobbs Ferry Parent Teacher Student Association will host a similar assembly that night at 7 p.m. for parents and community members.