Cartoon Network anti-bullying effort launches at Philly school

Sen. Bob Casey, Stuart Snyder (president of the Cartoon Network) and cast members of Cartoon Network show Level Up come to Warren G. Harding Middle School for a national anti-bullying campaign on Feb. 20, 2013. Here, Stephanie Moore, 12, and teacher April Lee Ahern applaud as anti-bullying banners are unfurled. ( APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer )
Sen. Bob Casey, Stuart Snyder (president of the Cartoon Network) and cast members of Cartoon Network show Level Up come to Warren G. Harding Middle School for a national anti-bullying campaign on Feb. 20, 2013. Here, Stephanie Moore, 12, and teacher April Lee Ahern applaud as anti-bullying banners are unfurled. ( APRIL SAUL / Staff Photographer )
Posted: February 21, 2013

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey asked about 600 Philadelphia middle school students Wednesday to raise a hand if they had ever seen a Phillies game. Nearly everyone in the auditorium did.

He noted that a packed Citizens Bank Park holds about 44,000 people, then asked the students to imagine an additional 16,000, for 60,000.

That, he said, is the number of U.S. students each day who stay out of school because they are being bullied.

"Now that's a big crowd," he said.

Casey (D., Pa.) spoke about his involvement to stop bullying in schools as part of the Cartoon Network's national "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" campaign, launched Wednesday at Harding Middle School in Northeast Philadelphia.

He said he has drafted a bill that would make schools that get federal funding state that bullying is not acceptable. The bill also would emphasize bullying prevention and would track bullying incidents for accurate statistics.

He told the students to stand up against bullying. "You can stop it before adults even know about it," Casey said. He also said that students should report acts of bullying to adults and that most of the fight to stop bullying will come down to what students do.

"What we do as adults is important, but limited," he said. "That's where you come in."

Seventh grader Raina Mills agreed. Mills, Harding's student council president, told her classmates that she wants Harding to be a bully-free school. She said students can help by reaching out to and comforting victims of bullying.

"The most important thing that all of us can do is to be a friend to someone being bullied," Mills said.

Stuart Snyder, president of the Cartoon Network, said a child is bullied every seven minutes and 85 percent of the time, no one steps in to help. That, he said, is why the network started the campaign. He said there was a call from students themselves.

"Kids like you told us that bullying hurts," Snyder said.

Harding, on Wakeling Street, became the first school in the country to officially display the "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" flag. Snyder said the network chose Harding because it had an active bullying-prevention program.

Along with the stars of Cartoon Network's Level Up, Aimee Carrero and Connor Del Rio, he led the students in a pledge to fight bullying by telling an adult if they see or hear something.

"It's not about being a snitch," Snyder said.


Contact Karie Simmons at 215-854-2771, ksimmons@philly.com, or follow @ksPhillyInq on Twitter.

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