According to the National Center for Education Statistics, during the 2014-15 school year, 20.8 percent of U.S. students ages 12 to 18 experienced bullying at school. The Rocky Mount Area Youth Council (RMAYC), made up of students from local area high schools, seeks to help lower that statistic by increasing awareness and supporting victims of bullying with “Walk for a Victim.” The anti-bullying walk will take place Saturday, April 29 at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex. Registration opens at 9 a.m. with the walk starting at 10:30 am.
“We hope this walks teaches students to be advocates for victims and report incidents of bullying when they see it,” said Felisa Hunter, Human Relations specialist and RMAYC advisor. “Our students deserve to be able to attend school or walk in their communities without fear of being bullied.”
Samantha Hopkins, a senior at Nash-Rocky Mount Early College High School and RMAYC president, says the walk is a way to bring attention to the problem of bullying and to contribute to the fight against bullying.
“We want to start the conversation between parents and children, educators and children and parents and educators to create an environment of support for victims of bullying so they know they are not alone,” said Hopkins. “The last thing we want to see are cases of students inflicting self-harm or committing suicide because they feel they have nowhere to turn.”
The idea for the walk came from a RMAYC brainstorming session regarding the council’s annual service learning activity.
“In recent years, we addressed the issue of hunger in our schools by participating in the Backpack for Buddies program in the elementary schools. This year, we wanted to take a new direction when tackling the driving issues in our communities and schools,” said Hopkins. “Bullying has been within the walls of our schools for as long as we can remember, and we all agree it needs to stop. Now!”
The walk is scheduled to last until 12 p.m. For more information, please call 252-972-1184.