Despite longstanding awareness of the problem, bullying persists — in schools, online and well into adulthood.
That’s why dozens of students and teachers from 15 public and private schools in Texas and Oklahoma gathered last week for the No Place for Hate Youth Summit.
The daylong summit in Fair Park was sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League, a 105-year-old nonprofit that fights anti-Semitism and hate. Cheryl Drazin, the ADL’s regional director, said it would be up the students and teachers to take the day’s lessons back to their schools.
“Student leaders are actually the perfect people to interrupt the cycle,” Drazin said. “Getting involved when you’re not necessarily the victim or the target, but you’re observing it, is the perfect role for these students to model for their campus.”
Drazin said bullying behavior can stop when others confront it early, before there’s any payoff to the bully.
“If you think about hate as a pyramid, bullying and then ridicule are that very bottom that leads all the way up to genocide,” Drazin explained. “And the acts of hate and violence and discrimination are right there in the middle.
“And I remember enough of geometry that if you chip away at the bottom of a pyramid, it loses its stability,” she said.