Hello and welcome to the Rassieur Youth Center! As part of our commemoration of the Month of the Military Child, F. Michael Wyant, Director of Safety and Security of St. Mary's County Public Schools, talked to the kids here at the youth center about bullying and fights. Wyant explained different kinds of bullying, including direct verbal and physical attacks, talking behind someone's back, gossip and rumors, and cyberbullying. No matter how it's done, bullying has some common elements.
"Bullying is a purposely mean, hurtful action that's repetitive," Wyant said.
Wyant answered all of the kids' questions about ways to solve and stop bullying. He explained that no one should bully at all and asked, "When you get bullied, how do you feel? Not good, I bet, so don't do it and tell others to stop immediately! No matter what, bullying hurts. No one deserves to be bullied and that's why I'm here to tell you to stop."
He also rewarded kids with pencils that say "Prevent Bullying: Tell Someone About It."
Wyant's goal in talking to children is, "to inform the students of St. Mary's County Public Schools and to prevent bullying and let them know what it is and how to stop it." As the Director of Safety and Security, Wyant seeks "to get into big problems and stop them, like that cinnamon challenge in Charles County," in which individuals try to quickly eat a tablespoon of ground cinnamon without also drinking water. The challenge has become an Internet meme and inspired thousands of YouTube videos from across the nation as well as widespread discussion of potential health hazards.
Wyant focuses his outreach efforts on 9- to 12-year-olds because bullying skyrockets in middle school, according to school records of bullying through emails, Facebook posts, tweets and other online communications younger children generally do not access. Wyant said that sixth grade has the highest percentage of bullying behaviors.
"So much is available out there for kids they can get into, like Google+, Facebook, etc., and kids aren't realizing that they can get 10 times nastier on the Internet than face-to-face and that's what's getting kids into trouble."
Wyatt is proud of Maryland's high ranking for solving problems of bullying, especially Internet bullying. Maryland is ranked third in the nation for stopping cyber-bullying, according to a graph Wyant presented to the students.
Wyant explained the consequences to bullying, from 3-day, in-school suspension to expulsion.
The information was useful.