Third Annual BLUE SHIRT DAY – World Day of Bullying Prevention

Love Our Children USA announced today the Third Annual BLUE SHIRT DAY™ – WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION to kickoff  National Bullying Prevention Awareness month during October. The Blue Shirt Day™– World Day of Bullying Prevention is an initiative of STOMP Out Bullying™ to combat bullying and cyberbullying.

This time of year should be an exciting time for students returning to school …learning, seeing old friends and making new ones; but the reality for many is often very different. They’re the victims of bullying at school, on playgrounds and online. They’re afraid to go to school for fear of being bullied.

To signify the importance of National Bullying Prevention Awareness month, STOMP Out Bullying™, a signature program of Love Our Children USA™, created Blue Shirt Day™- World Day of Bullying Prevention which is observed on the first Monday of October. On this day, we ask kids and adults alike to make Monday, October 3rd, the day that bullying prevention is heard around the world by wearing a Blue Shirt in solidarity to STOMP Out Bullying.

With the new school year beginning, this is a call to action for students, schools and workplaces across the country. Hundreds of schools across the country have agreed to participate and many more are expected to join.

This year’s campaign not only offers a newly designed “limited edition” blue shirt, it will create an even greater awareness with a PSA. The PSA will air on major TV and cable networks, as well as online.

Ross Ellis, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of STOMP Out Bullying™ said: “Kids who are intimidated, threatened, or harmed by bullies and cyberbullies often experience low self-esteem and depression. Some take their lives as an alternative. Many do not understand how extreme bullying can get. Parents, teachers and school administrators must use sensitivity in handling these issues. They must also work to make the victims more resilient, as well as working to help change the behavior of the bully. Schools can no longer sweep the issue under the rug.”

STOMP Out Bullying™ offers students a safe haven. From information and resources, to an online area where youths can talk about the issue, to getting involved in social media efforts, signing a petition, raising awareness, Blue Shirt Day and celebrity PSAs and a HelpChat Line for kids and teens who are bullied, cyberbullied and at-risk for suicide, and a soon to be launched area where students can upload videos about their experiences with bullying and why they want to end bullying.

We ask kids, teens and adults to participate BLUE SHIRT DAY™- WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION by wearing the STOMP Out Bullying™ “limited edition” blue shirt or wear their own blue shirt.

And from September 29th – October 19th the biggest celebrities will participate in the Fourth Annual STOMP Out Bullying Auction on charitybuzz.com. Some of last year’s celebrities include: Paul McCartney, Elton John, Bill Joel, Bette Midler, Ellen Degeneres, Celine Dion, Bryan Adams, Dancing With the Stars and Tom Bergeron, American Idol and a host of other very notable stars.

Ellis said: “We are so grateful to all of our partners joining us in this fight to STOMP Out Bullying. Bullying can be so painful and clearly has played a role in recent suicides across the country. And cyberbullying is in full force with the use of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and other sites popular with kids and teens. This social online cruelty is used by individuals or groups intending to harm our youth. Bullying starts as early as kindergarten. We have to look at prevention as a community issue. It’s up to parents, schools, law enforcement and the students to work together to educate and prevent – putting an end to the violence and to the suicides.

The parents of Scott Walz, Sladjana Vidovic, Phoebe Prince, Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover, Jesse Logan, Hope Witsell (Florida), Ryan Halligan and all of the others who took their lives know only too well, because they their kids could no longer take the daily torment.

They might be here today if their schools had listened and taken a stand against all forms of bullying.Students should be educated about the harmful effects of bullying and cyberbullying. They can begin by observing and participating in National Bullying Prevention Awareness month and BLUE SHIRT DAY™- WORLD DAY OF BULLYING PREVENTION.

Recent Statistics Show:

  • 1 out of 4 kids is Bullied.
  • Approximately 160000 kids stay home from school each day due to the fear of being bullied
  • 43% of teens, 97% of middle schoolers and 47% of older teens 18-24 are cyberbullied
  • 9 out of 10 LGBT students experienced harassment at school

To learn more about hoe you can help your child handle bullying or if your child is a bully, visit www.stompoutbullying.org.

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Sue Scheff: Texting – New App to Cover Your Tracks, but does it Encourage Cyberbullying?

TigerText, and according to the founder Jeffrey Evans, not named for the infamous text messages with Tiger Woods, is the latest gadget (application) to help people cover their tracks when they hit send a bit too fast.

We have heard this time and time again, think before you hit send.  Know that when that email or text goes out into the world of digital warfare, it is gone.  From there it can be forwarded, copied, pasted, manipulated and worse.  It could end in the wrong email box!  Did you mean to send Michael your friend or Michael your boss that not-so-funny joke?

Everyone has had that feeling after they hit send when they are typing so fast, that the automatic window of programmed names comes up and you have more then one person with the same name, with a flick of your finger, it is gone – just as you see the last name is wrong!

TigerText can’t help you there, but if you send a text that you want eliminated after the person has read it, they can help you.  With TigerText you can literally program it to delete your message from 60 seconds to 30 days after it has been read.

The catch: You have to have an iPhone (however it will soon be available on Blackberry and Android) and both parties have to download the app.  Is it worth it?  To some people it is exactly what they have been waiting for.

With school opening soon in Broward, Dade and Palm Beach Counties, it is time to think of the consequences of apps like TigerText.  Will it encourage cyberbullying?  Will the bully now believe their evidence will be destroyed?  Will it become more difficult to trace the nasty text messages?

Ross Ellis, Founder and CEO of Love Our Children USA, believes that this is exactly what can happen.  Her concerns that this type of product/app can increase and create more problems with bullying and cyberbullying.

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.

Watch video to understand how TigerText works.  Read more.

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Sue Scheff: STOMP Out Bullying Launches New Website in time for School Openings

Shortly school will be opening throughout our country, bullying is an expanding and explosive form of malicious attacks on kids and teens.  Whether you are being attacked verbally or online, bullying hurts! Bullying can leave long lasting emotional scars that people may not be able to see on the outside, but on the inside a child is hurting.

STOMP Out Bullying™ is an initiative of Love Our Children USA™ the National nonprofit leader that honors, respects and protects children. Its mission is to break the cycle of violence against children. Since 1999, it has paved the way in prevention and has become the ‘Go-To‘ prevention organization for all forms of violence and neglect against children in the U.S.

STOMP Out Bullying has proudly launched their new website as a new school year is about to begin.  This website offers a vast amount of educational and valuable information on bullying prevention, hotlines, and many fantastic celebrity videos and PSA’s.

For parents, educators, administers, daycare providers, STOMP Out Bullying new website also offers an adult page.  On this page you will find tip sheets to help you understand and prevent bullying and cyberbullying, as well as cell phones and mobile safety.

With school only a few weeks away, take the time to be prepared and educated on a very serious concern today, bullying.

Bullying hurts. Watch video are read more.

Sue Scheff: Bullying Causes 11 year-old to Commit Suicide

What prompts an 11 year-old fifth grader to commit suicide? What drives them to a closet with a belt to end their life? What could possibly be so bad that you cannot go on living? It comes back to that horrible world of bullying!

In Florida we have heard these bullying stories too often. In October 2009 Michael Brewer, 15 year-old, was nearly burned to death by other teens. In March of 2010 Josie Ratley, 15 years-old, was nearly beaten to death. In April 2010 Anthony Jones, 16 year-old, was shot and allegedly on a text hit list.

Now we have an 11 year old in Port St. Lucie, Florida, that felt life, just over a decade long, was too difficult to deal with. Celina Okwuone was found in her bedroom closet by her parents. Police say she used a belt to wrap around her neck and she had wrapped the belt around the metal shelving. Her father tried to lift her up and her mother tore the shelving from the wall.

According to reports, her parents later found her diary where she had written that she was being bullied by classmates at St. Anastasia Catholic School in Fort Pierce.

It is time to check your School Climate and BullyBust your communities! If you haven’t had the time to form or take part in an anti-bullying.

Watch video.  Many prayers and thoughts are with the Owuone family and friends.  Read more.

Sue Scheff: Teen Nearly Bullied To Death, Josie Lou Ratley, Is Finally Showing Signs of Hope

After almost three weeks of being in a medically induced coma, Josie Lou Ratley is showing signs of improvement.  On Easter Sunday, as her mother prepared a basket full of art supplies, a large stuffed bunny, chocolate and more, a sign of hope occurred as Josie has began to slightly move.

Channel 10 Just News reported Josie’s mother Hilda Ratley was at her bedside and are thrilled with these new signs of hope.  Doctors have decreased her medication and are slowly bringing her out of the coma. Sun-Sentinel reported earlier  this evening of this sign of progress.

On this Easter Sunday, miracles do happen.  Last reported, Josie’s condition had taken a turn for the worse, however with the many prayers and support and love from her  family, friends and so many supporters, there is light. 

March 17th, this beautiful young eighth grader was nearly beaten to death allegedly over a dispute of upsetting text messages.  As a Broward County judge has issued a gag order on discussing the details of this case, two teens, Wayne Treacy and Kayla Manson remain in Broward County’s Juvenile Detention Center.

The Ratley family does not  have medical insurance and our community has come together with many fundraisers.  Learn more by joining Pray for Josie Lou Ratley Facebook Group.  It is nearly 1000 supporters and growing. 

You can also donate to any Wachovia Bank to continue  to help Josie and her Family by donating at ANY by mailing your donations to:

Wachovia Bank
2989 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410.
Please make checks payable to “The Josie Lou Ratley Fund”

Or you can donate online. Just click on the gold “Donate” button on Josie’s page at:

http://www.fortheinjured.com/josie_lou_ratley_info.asp

This is an Easter miracle many have been praying for, and may it only get better from here. 
The power of pray is evident.

Watch Video and read more. – Click here.

Sue Scheff: New Facebook Group Page for Josie Lou Ratley – Teen Nearly Beaten to Death

Are you as shocked and horrified at the events that happened to 15 year-old Josie Ratley as many of us are? Isn’t it time this violence and bullying stopped?

Facebook has become one of the strongest social networking sites to help spread news, assist causes and bring people together with common interests.  Recently “Pray for Josie Lou Ratley” group was created.

This group has been established to foster coordination, donations and positive actions on behalf of Josie and her Family. Please join them as they band together to right this terrible wrong!

Take the time to leave your good wishes, prayers and support.

Get Well Cards can be sent to:

Broward General Medical Center
Patient Josie Lou Ratley
1600 S. Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
954-355-4400

The Ratley family does not have health insurance to pay for Josie’s medical care.  You can donate at any Wachovia Bank branch or mail your donations to:

Wachovia Bank
2989 PGA Boulevard
Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410.

Please make checks payable to “The Josie Lou Ratley Fund“.
 

Every little bit helps and every pray is appreciated. 

Watch slideshow with new photo’s from her recent Facebook Group page. Read more.

Sue Scheff: Update on Teen Set on Fire by other Teens

On October 12th, 2009 we were all shocked and horrified by the story of 15-year-old Michael Brewer, Deerfield Beach, Florida resident, who was doused in alcohol and set on fire by other teens.

Three teens are being charged and tried as adults in Broward County.  This outragious form of bullying is not only unacceptable it leaves us questioning what is happening with some of our teens today?  What prompts a child/teen to this type of violence?

Recently Michael Brewer received his first skin graft.  A Jackson Memorial Hospital spokeswoman said Brewer was listed in stable condition after the Dec. 4 procedure.

More than $100,000 has been raised on Michael’s behalf, and the family has gotten a massive outpouring of support.  Locally there have been many fund raisers.  For more information you can visit Neigbors Helping Neighbors which has created a fund for the family of Michael Brewer.

In November, Michael Brewers parents were on The Early Show shortly after Michael was able to share his story to detectives.

According to The Early Show: His mother, Valerie Brewer, told “Early Show” co-anchor Harry Smith Wednesday Michael is making progress in “leaps and bounds. (Tuesday) in physical therapy, they actually had him up, walking up and down the stairs.”
 

Michael’s physician, Dr. Nicholas Namias, the head of Jackson Memorial’s burn center, says Michael “still has significant hurdles ahead. They’re not dramatic hurdles every day, they’re hard work hurdles for him, over the long haul. … He has to go to physical therapy every day. And it hurts. Every motion, every movement, because his major joints really all are affected. Every motion that you and I take for granted hurts him.”

Related stories: CBS News 48 Hours, Florida Sun-Sentinel, Miami HeraldGood Morning America, Michael Brewer Foundation on Facebook

Take two minutes to watch the video about this story.