Hayley Reardon Speaks to Alaska Students About Bullying Prevention

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by Russ Slaten

Original Air Date: October 9, 2012

ANCHORAGE - In it's attempt to build awareness for Anti-Bullying Month Anchorage School District officials invited Singer/Songwriter Hayley Reardon to speak to students.

Hayley spent the day at Mears Middle School yesterday, and today with students at Goldenview Middle School.

Hayley is a spokesperson for PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center. After writing a song in the sixth grade, she wanted to send the message that junior high would be much easier if kids face 'growing up' together.

Based in Boston and now in high school, Hayley travels to middle schools across the U.S. inspiring students to express themselves in a positive way.

"It's basically about finding an outlet of expression that will allow you to figure out what's important to you, and stand up for that, and speak out about things that matter," said Hayley.

The National Bullying Prevention Center said students can be especially effective in bullying intervention. Numbers show that more than 55% of bullying situations will stop when a peer intervenes.

"It's really cool to have her right there, talking to us about these things, and it's somehow different from having teachers talk about it. I think it'll have a lot bigger impact," said Goldenview 8th Grader, Hannah Watkins.

Officials said silence is no longer an acceptable response to bullying and that ignoring it won't work. Imforming students with ways to respond is empowering, said the prevention center.

"They would rather keep it to themselves than not talk about it. If they talked about it, it would make it better, so that we can solve the problem," said Goldenview Student Estee Frantz.

One of the strongest avenues to reaching students is through their peers.

"It's our issue that we experience, and it's our issue that we deal with, and no adult can kind of tell us how to deal with it. We need to find whatever it is inside ourselves that's gonna fix the problem," said Hayley.

Tomorrow is Unity Day, In which students across the nation will wear orange in support of students who have experienced bullying.

For more information, visit HayleyReardon.com or PACER's National Bullying Prevention Center.

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