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City pushes diversity to fight student bullying

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WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
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A combination of Buffalo public, private and charter school students gathered to watch an award-winning anti-bullying film Thursday. As WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley reports, Mayor Byron Brown hosted the screening of 'Bully' at the North Park Theater as part of a nationwide screening through the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Yellow school buses rolled up to the North Park. Students walked the 'red carpet' in the movie theater lobby. They were served popcorn and were ready to rally against bullying. 

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Students were treated to popcorn for the screening.

Inside the theater Mayor Brown fired up the students calling out school names. 

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Students gather to watch "Bully" in North Park Theater.

The city and school district noted the strategy of bringing some 600-students from a cross-section of schools together - unifying them under a common theme during National Bullying Prevention Month.

"That we have young people in this community, whether they attend the Buffalo Public Schools, private schools or the charter schools that will stand up against bullying and treat each other with respect," stated Mayor Brown.  

"We want students this age and younger to start embracing our city's diversity, and as we know, a lot of bullying comes from not knowing our differences," said Crystal Rodriguez, Executive Director of the city's Commission on Citizens Rights and Community Relations.

Rodriguez said diversity was key at this event.  Rodriguez deals with different levels of discrimination -- often adults who are bullies.  She noted that it's important to prevent this "learned behavior" at an early age.

"I used to be bullied," said I didn't fit in with a lot of people," said Hutch Tech junior Suleima Sanchez Sanchez was a victim of bullying in middle school. "Its horrible. I've seen people bullied at Tech."

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'Buffalo Bulldozes Bullying' slogan.

"I used to be bullied," said I didn't fit in with a lot of people," said Hutch Tech junior Suleima Sanchez Sanchez  was a victim of bullying in middle school. "Its horrible. I've seen people bullied at Tech."

The 98-minute film 'Bully' featured depicted how many are affected by bullying.   Buffalo students signed anti-bullying pledges and rallied together shouting out the the city's anti-bullying slogan -- 'Buffalo Bulldozes Bullying.'

The city has teamed through the generous support of  AT&T  to conclude October as National Bullying Prevention Month in Buffalo.

Mayor Brown appeared with AT&T Regional Director Kevin Hanna at the North Park Theater.  The Mayor noted his appreciation for the city’s continued partnership with AT&T, particularly on the issue of bullying.  

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Kevin Hanna, regional director, AT&T External Affairs joins Mayor and Buffalo school students at North Park Theater.

“AT&T is proud to partner with Mayor Byron Brown on this initiative to call attention to the devastating consequences of bullying in our community and within our schools,” said Hanna. “Today bullying is no longer confined to the classroom or the schoolyard, it now exists on the Internet, on social media and even on mobile devices, and AT&T is committed to providing educational resources and tools to parents to help safeguard their children from cyberbullying.   AT&T applauds the Mayor and his colleagues in the U.S. Conference of Mayors for joining The BULLY Project to wipe out bullying in our schools.”

 

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