Westinghouse College Prep Combats Bullying With National Bullying Prevention Month Events – NBC Chicago

With October being National Bullying Prevention Month, many schools and organizations across the U.S. are working to bring awareness to the issue, including a high school on Chicago’s West Side.

Throughout the month, George Westinghouse College Prep in East Garfield Park is partnering with Humanity Rising to screen the documentary, “Confessions of a Social Bully.” Students will also participate in a youth panel discussion to talk about solutions to bullying and how to create safer communities. 

Sophia Ortega, a sophomore at George Westinghouse College Prep told NBC 5 she was bullied throughout middle school, and it really impacted her self-confidence.

“A lot of people would make rumors about my body, about how I was too thin or too skinny,” she said.

According to Youth.gov, bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.

“We’ve seen a lot of cyber bullying, especially since the pandemic there’s been a rise,” said Michael Graham Jr., a counselor at the high school. “And also there’s been bullying though group texts, we’ve seen a lot of that.”

Kayla Pilgrim, an ambassador with the student-led movement called Humanity Rising, said you have to be educated on how bullying starts, where bullying is happening and recognizing the signs.

“…You also need to be able to identify when you’re being bullied or when you are being the bully,” she added.

Philanthropist Steve Sarowitz believes young people can solve their own problems, but said they “need to be empowered to do so, and that’s what humanity rising does.”

Things turned around for Sophia Ortega as she was finishing eighth grade. Now, she uses writing as an outlet to help other youth in similar situations. 

“I gained that self-love and confidence back by just working on myself and learning to escape all that negativity,” she said.

“Bullies can change,” insists student Xitlaly Gaytan,” and it’s something that we should all look forward to seeing.”

For more information about National Bullying Prevention Month, click here.

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