Bullying campaign raises awareness

Geneseo launched the Wipe Out Bullying campaign with a day of bullying awareness events on Monday Feb. 4.

The day began with a screening of the movie Bullied, which chronicles the true story of Jamie Nabozny, who was bullied extensively for being gay in his middle and high school in Ashland, Wis.

Nabozny’s school administration does nothing to help his predicament, and when he tells his middle school principal about the bullying, she says, “If [Nabozny] was going to act so openly gay, he had to expect that kind of stuff to happen.” 

A later incident sends him to the hospital. 

Nabozny eventually sues both the middle and high school administration for failing to protect him at school. This leads the court to decide that public schools are responsible for protecting all students from bullies, including students that are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

Following the movie were four forums discussing tactics to examine current bullying issues and to enforce change. Discussion topics included “Preventing and Intervening with Bullying and Harassment: The Role of Student Leaders and RAs” and “Inspiring a New Generation: Educating Students with a Social Conscience to Stop Bullying.”

Geneseo Residence Life, Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development, Student and Campus Life, Center for Community, Student Association, Activities Commission, Ella Cline Shear School of Education, the Geneseo chapter of United University Professions and New York State United Teachers all cosponsored Wipe Out Bullying.

All students and faculty members were invited to and encouraged to attend all of the day’s events.

The program ended with a second showing of the movie Bullied. After the movie, Nabozny himself spoke to those in attendance and shared his plan to stop bullying in schools.

“I don’t think we have a problem with homophobia in our schools,” Nabozny said. “I think we have a problem with sexism.”

Nabozny said it is not the fact that someone is gay that causes children to be bullied, but the idea that someone does not act according to specific gender roles that leads to bullying. 

Nabozny said he believes that with preventative actions, a comprehensive approach to understanding bullying and a change in the way a community responds to something that isn’t right, we can decrease the amount of bullying in schools across the nation.