Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach, associate professor of educational psychology, and 92.5 KISS FM Morning Rush Host Sid Kelly have teamed up to raise awareness about bullying.During the National Bullying Prevention Month of October, Kovach and Kelly have addressed three Horizon Science Academies to speak with students and teachers about bullying and its effects.
Kovach, author of School Shootings and Suicides: Why We Must Stop the Bullies, defines the forms bullying may take to the students and explains how it can impact people. An important part of the presentation is getting students involved, Kovach said.
“When students are part of the dialogue and discussion, it tends to create a sense of community, which is a necessary component in teaching them to want to advocate for one another,” Kovach said. “They tend to stand up for a victim when they feel a human connection. Sharing their stories with us allows others to hear the profound impact that bullying can have on their classmates.”
Kelly then discusses his history with bullying, sharing how he once was a bully until he realized its negative impact on others. Kelly also describes how he became a victim while he was in the U.S. Navy.
He began working with Kovach when he invited her on his radio show to talk about bullying after hearing about an incident that had taken place in the area. He also was inspired after he watched the 2011 documentary “Bully.”
“This behavior has to stop, and our children need to know there are things that can be done,” Kelly said. “Lisa and I preach to young men and women that they need to understand what bullying is and that they need to report it when they see it happen.”Kovach said the frontline is the students themselves.
“Teachers and parents can’t be in the bathroom when it happens or in the locker room when it happens, but the kids see it every day,” she said.
Kovach also pointed out that cyberbullying is a major issue because of the advances in technology, the disinhibition one feels online and the cyberbullying perpetrator having access to his or her victim 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Kelly and Kovach also make themselves available for students to reach out to if they feel no one else will listen.
“I tell them that if they find themselves unable to find an adult willing to help them, that I will,” Kelly said. “I bring at least 20 to 50 business cards with my personal cell phone number, and I’ve handed all of them out each time I’ve spoken.”
They also share resources for students to make anonymous reports and provide informational packets.
“I want every child and adult I speak to, to understand that it’s not OK to bully someone because they’re different,” Kelly said. “I want people to realize that at the end of the day, the things that define us as a person are the people we help and the knowledge we pass along to those that don’t have it.”
For more information about UT efforts, visit the Anti-Bullying Task Force website at utoledo.edu/tlc/bully.