Pennsylvania’s successful Safe2Say Something program — the state’s anonymous tip system to help make schools safer — generated more than 41,000 tips in its first year. Tips came in regarding suicide, depression and drug use. At the top of the list for most tips was information regarding bullying and cyberbullying.
Despite mountains of literature and programs in classrooms at every level across the state, bullying remains a significant issue in our schools. Cyberbullying has taken the issue to a new level. A generation ago, bullying often stopped at the end of the school day. A child could escape at home.
Today that isn’t the case. Social media has made it a 24-7 struggle for far too many kids. According to DoSomething.org, about 37 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 17 have been bullied online; 30 percent of students said it happened more than once.
It’s dangerous. It’s concerning. It’s unacceptable.
We want to hear why our Valley high school students think it is so dangerous and what can be done to slow this troubling trend.
The Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association Foundation and Pennsylvania’s newspapers along with AT&T are collaborating to host a statewide editorial writing contest to raise awareness about the dangers of cyberbullying. The “Stop Cyber Bullying” contest is open to all Pennsylvania high school students for the column or editorial that best explains “Why cyberbullying is dangerous and should not be tolerated.”
These commentaries will be published in The Daily Item in the coming weeks.
The Daily Item will select a local winner who will receive a $250 cash prize and be entered into the statewide contest. The statewide winner will receive a $500 prize and be recognized at the Student Keystone Media Awards Luncheon in April.
Editorials or columns — which must not exceed 500 words — will be judged on creativity and originality, persuasiveness, grammar and spelling, and understanding of subject matter versus the relevancy of response to the topic question. Applicants may cite external references in their entries, such as statistics or quotes. All references must be properly cited. Submissions should include the student’s name, school grade and contact information.
Students should send their submissions to The Daily Item, either via email to email@example.com or mail to The Daily Item, 200 Market St., Sunbury, PA, 17801. The deadline for local entries is March 1. Complete rules will be available at dailyitem.com.
This contest presents students with a chance to right a wrong, to stand up and tell everyone that enough is enough.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Managing Editor Bill Bowman.