Stepping it Up: Students need to take charge in fight to end bullying

Our View

Occasionally coined as the Civil Rights issue of the 21st century, the LGBT movement has received both positive and negative feedback. On one hand we have the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell for our armed forces and an increasing number of states allowing gay marriage.

But on the other hand remains the very real issue of hate crime. Just this August, Marcellus Andrews of Waterloo was violently beaten by attackers shouting anti-gay slurs; he died later in an Iowa city hospital from head injuries.

Unfortunately, Andrew’s story is not one of a kind. In 2008 alone, 1,617 hate crimes were committed based on sexual orientation alone; this number has most likely risen since then.
With the rise of texting and social media, bullying is taking on new and arguably more aggressive dimensions. What’s quickly emerging as one of the most pertinent issues facing our generation deserves more attention than it currently receives. Bullying often gets lots of talk but little action, as it is notoriously difficult to address. It is no secret this needs to change, and fortunately students around the country are beginning to take actions to do so.

One such action is an organization called Stop the Hate, Spread Hope created and run by high school seniors in Buffalo New York. Nick Longo, a sophomore at the time, created the organization as a means to provide an outlet for any student who needed to share a story. Since then, the group has created a documentary compiling these stories, made a website, given talks at high schools around New York and are even working with the Department of Education to expand the project. Longo’s work is inspiring — as high school students, it is our peers that suffer from bullying. This is an issue not to be left to adults, but for us to tackle ourselves.

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