Monday, April 9, 2012

Talking Back to Bullies and Bullying

If you are a parent, ally, friend, supporter, teacher, clergy, health care provider, therapist or other acquaintance of a young person aged 14-19 who may have something to say about bullying then please let them know about this.

The writer, activist, humanist, and defender of human rights, Nicholas Kristof, has launched an essay contest in combination with the national magazine Teen Ink and the New York Times Learning Network to encourage teens and young adults to spread the word about bullying as a serious problem.  Students are encouraged to write from their point of view as bullies, victims or witnesses by writing an essay of up to 500 words about any aspect of the issue.  "Teenagers,"  he writes, "help us understand the problem by sharing your experiences and insights."    Excerpts of the winning essays will be published in Kristof's blogs and column in the New York Times.

While the "bully" card may feel overplayed by some, it is anything but a game to those who are in it and continues to demand our attention on an individual and case by case basis.  It's not just a label. In some cases, it becomes a life defining and even life or death force.

If you, as an adult, know someone for whom this might have been the case-- recently or even in the distant past--please encourage them to come forward with their words.  Potential contestants should go to

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