In the media, bullying is often portrayed as occurring in kindergarten through 12th grade, but studies have shown it doesn’t stop after high school — and The University of Toledo is working to raise awareness.
On Thursday, Nov. 15, students, faculty, staff and community members will have the chance to learn about bullying from people who have experienced it firsthand. At 7 p.m. in Memorial Field House Room 2100, students of the PEACE (Protecting Every Abused Child Everywhere) Project will perform choreographed dramas and speak with audience members about their experiences.
The free, public event is hosted by UT’s Anti-Bullying Task Force, which is geared toward developing bullying policies, educating students and assisting victims.
“We know that it’s not just a K-12 issue,” said Dr. Lisa Pescara-Kovach, UT associate professor of foundations of education and a member of the task force. “It does affect college students as well, so we want to make sure that we can assist in any way that we can.”
The task force was started by Kovach and UT Police Chief Jeff Newton after the tragic suicide of Tyler Clementi, a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Clementi was bullied because he was gay and committed suicide in 2010 at the age of 18.
“It’s easy for us to distance ourselves sometimes when we see a case in the media or on the news,” Kovach said. “But to hear victims speak about this to you and with you in person makes it very real.”
This is why the students of the PEACE Project, anywhere from 12 to 22 years old, will team up with UT to raise awareness and let victims know they are not alone. Thursday’s presentation is created and performed solely by students in the organization.
“The mission of the PEACE Project is to touch someone else in a very positive way,” said Bill Geha, founder of the project. “The message is that you’re not alone. People who are abused or bullied think they’re the only ones, and that’s not the case. A lot of people have gone through it.”
For more information on the Anti-Bullying Task Force, check out utoledo.edu/tlc/bully. The site’s resources include a suicide hotline, videos, definitions of bullying and harassment, an anonymous report form and more.