Education

Athletes encourage Cary students to stand up to bullying

Posted April 29, 2013

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— Nearly a third of all U.S. teenagers have been bullied at school, and it occurs most often in middle school, according to a recent study by the nonprofit Families and Work Institute.

Students at East Cary Middle School have signed pledges to stop bullying, and television basketball analyst Debbie Antonelli brought some college athletes to the school Monday to encourage the students to back up those words with action.

"Anytime you can come back to your old community, where you grew up, and be a part of something really special, making a difference, we want to do that," said Antonelli, who attended East Cary Middle and now has a niece at the school.

Antonelli, who now lives in Charleston, S.C., and covers college basketball for ESPN, CBS and Fox Sports Net, often travels to schools with her son, who's in the eighth grade, to show youths how words and actions can hurt people and how they can stop that.

"You don't want to encumber someone with negativity. You want to empower them with something positive," she said.

North Carolina State University basketball player Marissa Kastanek echoed Antonelli's message.

East Cary Middle School bullying Athletes bring anti-bullying message to Cary middle school

"I challenge you guys. Instead of looking for the flaws in somebody, look for the positives," Kastanek told the Cary students.

Meanwhile, Duke University quarterback Anthony Boone said the students should look out for each other.

"You don't realize, when you see someone getting bullied and you're standing there and you've not said anything and you walk away from the situation, you're just as guilty as that bully," Boone said.

Students said they took the message to heart.

"I saw some people touched by what they were saying," Samantha Cole said.

"It told me more to think about my actions because none of us is perfect," Todd Graham said.

5 Comments

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  • 4Strikes May 2, 9:08 a.m.

    "Another issue is that if you do stand up to these bullies you get suspended under the current rules. They need to change that so only the person who starts the argument gets punished and the person who rightfully defends themselves should be rewarded and get a commendation, not an "automatic suspension..." Tax Man

    The problem is that common sense has long been banished from the public schools. Administrators are not allowed to think for themselves, assess any situation and act accordingly. Zero tolerance policies have done away with all of that.

  • Lightfoot3 May 1, 10:37 a.m.

    "I don't know if it's gotten more vile these days" - dirkdiggler


    I think it's more vile, partly because they have more tools now. Bullying use to be limited to direct contact with the bully. Now it can continue online, often pulling in other to contribute to the bullying. It's also hard and scaryt to confront a bully, especially a physical one.


    My nephew said kids at his school formed a vigilante GROUP to go after bullies. Great idea and it worked. But this was still before cell phones, Facebook, and such.

  • rargos Apr 30, 4:15 p.m.

    Fascinating -- when I was in school, most of the bullies WERE the athletes ....

    I guess we have to stop those drama, debate, and AV club members from ruffing up the football players, right?

  • Tax Man Apr 30, 3:09 p.m.

    Another issue is that if you do stand up to these bullies you get suspended under the current rules. They need to change that so only the person who starts the argument gets punished and the person who rightfully defends themselves should be rewarded and get a commendation, not an "automatic suspension". In the old days if someone was bullying you and you stood up for yourself you were rewarded and the bully was kicked out of school - times have changed.

  • dirkdiggler Apr 30, 11:01 a.m.

    I think part of the issue with not confronting bullying when you see it happening is not wanting to be sucked into the bullying yourself. If you see someone, or a group of people, tormenting their victim, the last thing you want is to pull that attention to yourself. Kids can be cruel. I don't know if it's gotten more vile these days or if awareness is heightened, but it's a shame kids can't just go to school and get an education without having to be made to feel bad about themselves.