'Back off, bully!' event encourages students

Posted October 23, 2011
Updated October 24, 2011

— An eighth-grade student in Wake County knows what it's like to be bullied.

"People needed somebody to pick on, I guess, and I was there," said the student, who asked to remain anonymous. "I was the weird, ugly and fat kid. I wasn't well liked."

The "Back Off Bully: Be Bold" event at the Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary Sunday helped raise awareness about bullying and money for the local anti-bully project called Peaceful Schools - NC.

The project works in schools to encourage everyone to play a role in stopping the bullying, especially those who witness it.

"We can empower bystanders – people who are watching the bullying going on – and help them know what they can do. If they see bullying going on, we are able to diffuse the situation," said Sarah Stiegler, executive director of Peaceful Schools - NC.

The Peaceful Schools - NC program uses tools, including yoga and martial arts, to help children release energy in a positive way.

It's being tested at Central Park School for Children in Durham and Carolina Friends Middle School in Chapel Hill. Organizers said they hope to expand it to more Triangle-area schools.

Triangle event raises anti-bullying funds, awareness Triangle event raises anti-bullying funds, awareness

Bullying can have devastating outcomes, Stiegler said.

"Students who are being bullied and have very low self-esteem are committing suicide," she said.

The eighth grader who spoke to WRAL News said she was too scared to tell anyone when she was being bullied.

"I was afraid that they would go and talk to the kids and tell them what was going on and make it worse," she said, adding that she's not being bullied any longer and has a good group of friends.

Organizers of "Back Off Bully" hope that events like it will encourage students to speak out against bullying.

"I would suggest they stand up for themselves," the eighth grader said. "Find a group of friends who are nice and wouldn't do this. Talk to your parents or a school counselor."


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  • storchheim Oct 25, 2011

    Words can destroy a career, blacksuv. They're often spoken quietly and behind closed doors.

    I was bullied at my last workplace until I got in the boss's boss's face when he was relishing his usual criticisms, and said right back to him, "Well, I'VE been hearing all over the building that YOU'VE been running your mouth about me too!" He never tried that again.

    He was about 5'6, immediate boss probably didn't break 5 feet. No coincidence there.

  • oldrwizr Oct 25, 2011

    I knew the right-wing would hate this. Bullying is all they have going for them.

  • dollibug Oct 24, 2011

    ++++now someone can go and say anything about anyone and its believed,with no investigation at all.most folks are guilty untill proven innocent now.its a popularity contest.

    So very true....and the bad thing is that such as this is allowed in a court of law....not a good thing.....

  • dollibug Oct 24, 2011

    +++I've never understood what possesses youth to bully others... kids can be so cruel to each other sometimes

    **once a bully.....always a BULLY....even into adult life...

  • blacksuv1962 Oct 24, 2011

    What happened to the days when " STICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME"? The day has come were everyone has hurt feeling and blames everybody else but themselves. WORDS CAN NOT KILL YOU. WAKE UP PEOPLE !!!!!!!!!!!

  • davido Oct 24, 2011

    From what I understand, the Peaceful Schools initiative is pretty revolutionary. The martial arts taught (Aikido) emphasize promoting harmony and not just protecting yourself from bullies in the usual "hit them back" way.

  • 2headstrong Oct 24, 2011

    Schools have made it harder for kids who are being bullied to cope. Over the years, I have seen my kids' movements in school more and more tightly controlled - my daughter, who goes her own way and speaks her mind and is ridiculed for it, can't get away from the pack of kids who torment her during the day. They have the same "locker time", they are assigned to the same table at lunch, and since the class moves from room to room together and has 'bathroom time' together, she is STUCK with these bullies. Not a moment's peace. If she could even have one bathroom pass a day without it affecting her grade or getting her detention, it would help. If she could go to her locker or the bathroom between whichever class she chose, she might be able to avoid them and get a break. If she could choose where to sit for lunch, she might get a break. And as another poster said, teachers only see when she tries to defend herself, not when the bullies are tormenting her.

  • RGMTRocks Oct 24, 2011

    Bullying takes many forms. Strength or self-defense skills are not always helpful because very often the bullying is verbal. I've seen it first hand and while the bullier was ignored and none of the teachers seemed to know what he was doing, they heard every word my daughter said in her defense and made her out to be the 'bad guy'. They didn't seem to know anything about what this kid was doing. I heard less of it from my kid than I heard from all the other kids in her classes who came to me and told me what she was enduring. This because she was so weary of it she didn't even want to talk about it until it got so bad she couldn't take it any more. She employed all the anti-bullying strategies but he was relentless. Thank GOD he's finally at another school. I'm all for standing up for yourself and taught my kids to do that as well but sometimes, that's just not enough and our school teachers and administrators are NOT DOING THEIR JOBS to deal with these situations that are so far out o

  • btneast Oct 24, 2011

    This is why this country is so weak, China is going to take over and the weakling are going to give the country to them.

    ...even a casual student of history will agree with this to a degree. You see it in nature every day.....only the strong survive. Strong , as it relates to bullies, does not have to be all physical strength. If you don't raise your child to be strong and stand up for himself, he will always be subject to the will of others.

  • Willie_11 Oct 24, 2011

    I wasn't very tough in school and I can def. tell everyone that bullies can tell who the weak are. Almost like a dog can smell fear, bullies can too. If you or your kid show weakness, the bully will come down with furious anger. They feed off of it. It's really easy to tell everyone "stand up to the bully." But if you are the one needing to do the standing, it's not that easy.

    Ask Peter Brady who Buddy Simpson was.