NKO Campus Fourth Graders Have Question Asked Live During Special White House/Facebook Bullying Conference

March 11, 2011

President Obama, in collaboration with others including Facebook, has been taking on the issue of bullying this past week with a variety of messages, discussions and Q & A sessions. Our North Kenwood/Oakland Campus students have been following the anti-bullying campaign closely in their classrooms culminating with one of their questions being asked live during a special Facebook Bullying Prevention Conference yesterday.

When Domestic Policy Advisor Melody Barnes, Facebook Chief Security Officer Joe Sullivan, MTV Vice President for Public Affairs Jason Rzepka and Rosalind Wiseman took questions from the public via the White House Facebook page on bullying prevention, the question posed by NKO fourth graders was the first to be addressed.  The class asked, “What behaviors define bullying? Sometimes we get confused about how ‘mean’ or ‘playful’ behaviors can become bullying.”

The students listened excitedly as their question was answered.  They were told that bullying is an abuse of power that makes someone feel small, stripped of dignity, or voiceless. It was clarified that bullying can be both verbal and physical, and for students to test whether they are exhibiting bullying behavior by applying the golden rule: Would they want to be treated the same way?

The discussion resonated with the fourth graders. One student named Adarah learned that "Bullying is humiliation. It is when someone is making you not want to come to school, making you feel bad so you feel bad about yourself. It can also be putting their hands on you." Another commented,  "Bullying is taking your anger or pressure out on someone else."

NKO Director Tanika Island-Smith was pleased with the knowledge her students gained on this important issue and shared the fourth-graders excitement over their moment of Q&A fame. “The students were thrilled to hear their question read as a part of this national platform,” said Island-Smith.  “I am really proud of them.”