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Students take anti-bullying message to the streets

Ellen Abbott

Students from the Southside Academy Charter School in Syracuse marched around the neighborhood this morning to make a statement that bullying won't be tolerated in their school.

More than 600 students in grades K-8 walked around their Onondaga Creek neighborhood on this dreary December day, to say they won't be  silent when it comes to bullying.

Fifth grader Charles Gibbens knows what it's like to be bullied after he told the principal one of his schoolmates was swearing.

"I was bullied once when I was in first grade and it was hard for me because he smashed my head into a locker," Gibbens explains. That child was disciplines, but Gibbens still thinks about it.

"If I'm walking somewhere's maybe, and I don't know the person, they might do that to me again, and I might break my neck or something," he says.

Students also hung blue ribbons on the schoolyard fence to signify the effort.

"Everybody has challenges, even the most popular people have challenges," Principal Delvin Vick says. "`And once you start accepting folks' challenges, hopefully we can get to the point where we can all get along and not causing issues for one another."

Vick says the kids came up with the anti-bully week concept, but it also dovetails with the the Dignity for All Students Act passed last summer.  
"We try to make it a safe environment," he says. "And as adults we act on it very seriously. And that's one of the strong things about the act, it forces adults to make decisions about what they do and act on it quickly."

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.