By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — Plainfield High School Pride Club members have been busily getting ready for Bullying Stops Here, an anti-bullying event, being held at 6 p.m. May 6 at the school.
Justine Thompson is the Pride Club sponsor and student counselor. She said the idea for the event came from a conference the students attended.
“The students went to the Youth for Youth conference and it was heavily focused on bullying,” she said. “Bullying is not usually our mission, but the kids really got motivated by the conference.”
The Pride Club is for students who want to learn about being drug and alcohol free. It has about 20 members.
Senior Emily Mason has been helping prepare for the upcoming event. She explained that the club has opened the Bullying Stops Here event up to middle and high schools students and their parents.
“We’ll be watching a movie and having a panel discussion,” Mason said. “We also want any community members who are interested to come as well.”
She said there was an instance of cyber bullying that took place her freshman year.
“There was some texting and Facebook that got pretty nasty,” she said. “Then the next day at school some nasty things were said in person.”
The event will define what bullying is and be focused on cyber bullying where people use texting, Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat, Vine, or Instagram in a malicious way.
“We want to get students as educated as possible,” Thompson said. “Cyber bullying can have far-reaching consequences. For some reason, people are more aggressive online than they might be in person. They somehow feel more removed when they’re online.”
In the movie, a character contemplates suicide after a cyber-bullying incident. After the movie, a panel made up of school administration, teachers, law enforcement, and students will field questions.
“A lot of this goes on outside of school but then spills back into the school,” Thompson said. “We want to stop it before the words are exchanged.”
There will be information available on Pride Club for those who attend.
“And everything is free,” Mason said. “We’re very excited about this event.”