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Video campaign aims to show impact of bullying

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Firsthand: High school senior Allie Ferrey speaks about her experiences with bullying at a news conference with District Attorney George Gascón on Wednesday. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Firsthand: High school senior Allie Ferrey speaks about her experiences with bullying at a news conference with District Attorney George Gascón on Wednesday.

When Allie Ferrey was bullied about her appearance as a 13-year-old, she made it her mission to never let herself be picked on again. Since then, Ferrey, now a senior at San Francisco’s Raoul Wallenberg Traditional High School, has stepped up to let her peers know it’s OK to be who they are. It starts with talking to and supporting students who have been bullied.

“It’s happened to all of us,” Ferrey said, “and it needs to end.”

On Wednesday, she joined District Attorney George Gascón in calling for more aggressive anti-bullying efforts in schools by introducing a video contest aimed at inviting young people to share how bullying has affected them.

“Adults may create messages, but they’re not necessarily reaching young people,” Gascón said. “For every one of these kids who puts a video together, there are dozens if not hundreds around the country going through it, and they’re suffering in silence.”

The contest is open through Nov. 7 and allows high school and middle school students to submit 60-second video clips addressing what bullying is, the effects it has or how to respond to bullies. The winners will be announced in December and could win prizes such as iPads, Giants memorabilia or sailing lessons.

Rob Connolly, president of the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Francisco, said the issue isn’t just important for kids — adults need to understand the problem and how they can help.

“It is a critically important issue to understand how to help kids feel safe,” he said. “And it’s imperative as adults that we understand this topic better than we understand the right way to intervene and the right ways to help kids feel like they can be safe.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com