I spent Sunday morning watching TEDxRedmond [http://tedxredmond.com/live/], an event organized and attended by youth. I was blown away by what these young people have already accomplished. Listening to each speaker inspired me to want to do more to get youth voices heard.

One particular talk made me think about a topic in a new light. Brigitte Berman spoke passionately about ending bullying in schools. Adults and students hold equal responsibility in making this happen. I totally agree and like the language of ending bullying.

Brigitte’s home state of Massachusetts passed legislation to prohibit bullying at schools. [http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2010/Chapter92] The law defines: “Bullying”, the repeated use by one or more students of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at a victim that: (i) causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property; (ii) places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to himself or of damage to his property; (iii) creates a hostile environment at school for the victim; (iv) infringes on the rights of the victim at school; or (v) materially and substantially disrupts the education process or the orderly operation of a school. For the purposes of this section, bullying shall include cyber-bullying.

Bullying is serious. For some reason because young people have no vote, no power, and no voice – bullying happens at schools and little is done. If bullying happened to adults, we call it harassment, assault, or battery. We can involve the police, press charges, and have some recourse. At many schools, students who are victims of bullying have no recourse, no place to go for help, and end up suffering silently. This is unacceptable. Having legislation that prohibits bullying in schools is a step in the right direction. More needs to be done and engaging youth (like Brigitte who provided testimony to the Massachusetts legislature) in this conversation is vital.

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