Every 12.8 minutes, someone’s child, friend or sibling commits suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
According to the online forum, nobullying.com, victims of bullying are 7 to 9 percent more likely to commit suicide than from other causes.
So, PSUC junior Kasaydia Carter-Martinez developed the No Empty Beds campaign, an anti-bullying campaign she will pioneer with the help of PSTV.
“I realized we have a platform to really show people what we’re capable of and to make a difference,” she said of PSTV. “We have a lot of ambition and ability, and we can help.”
The campaign will include the production of a video featuring organizations and clubs on campus speaking out against bullying.
After the video is complete, Carter-Martinez plans to have the video sent to local elementary, middle and high schools.
Though the video will be sent to schools with younger children in order to prevent bullying, bullying does occur on college campuses.
“Most bullying starts in middle schools and high schools,” said Blaine Malefatto, a PSUC freshman who is also working on the campaign. “But it doesn’t really stop there — it continues.”
Carter-Martinez was bullied in high school, and when she came to college at PSUC, she was unable to escape bullying. Though the torment wasn’t to the same degree, it sparked an anger in her that caused her to start the No Empty Beds campaign.
The Safe Schools Against Violence in Education Act of 2000 (SAVE) requires a focus on all acts of violence including, but not limited to, the impact of acts of bullying, threats, harassment or intimidation, according to the New York State Education Department. Due to policies and laws, schools are expected to implement anti-bullying plans in order to house a safer school community.
However, Carter-Martinez said this is not always the case. She explains that when she was bullied in high school, she sought out help from administration, who did little to help her.
“I would show up in the principal’s office crying, and I just got a lot of ‘sorry,’” she said. “They kept telling me it was just he said-she said type of situation, we can’t be sure of who did what.”
Not only was Carter-Martinez bullied in her teen years, but when she was in second grade, her and her family were forced to move because her sister was being bullied so badly that she no longer wanted to attend the same school.
“When you’re that young, you don’t see why someone would bully someone,” Carter-Martinez said. “You don’t understand because you can’t justify at that age.”
Ever since, her fight against bullying has been ongoing. While in high school, she delivered anti-bullying speeches, trying to make a difference. However, she wasn’t sure how she could further her efforts in college. That is, until it started happening to her again.
“I just thought, ‘you know what? I’m not scared anymore like I was in high school,’” she said. “So now I’m going to do something.”
The campaign video will show a united group of PSUC organizations that are against bullying, as well as skits showing different types of bullying and how it affects those tormented in a visual way.
Carter-Martinez also hopes to start a website where people can share stories about what they have endured in an online community that serves to spread the message.
Those working on the project hope it will spark a conversation on the importance of bullying and the impact it has on those affected.
“We all need to be aware and on the same page on how to help,” Carter-Martinez said. “We have to stand up for everyone that we can and form a well-rounded and well-educated community in terms of bullying.”
Email Tawnee Bradham at firstname.lastname@example.org