WHITESTONE, N.Y. — A school bus company here recently marked the fifth year of its anti-bullying campaign, which included hosting a presentation and extensive community outreach.
Vallo Transportation’s “No Bullying Zone” was held at J.H.S. 194 William Carr School, and featured national anti-bullying speaker Tom Thelen. Thelen is a youth motivational speaker, author, and founder of the Victimproof Bullying Prevention Program, a curriculum that helps kids speak up about bullying and become a positive influence at their school.
“A new study by the U.S. Department of Education shows that 30% of sixth graders experience bullying on a regular basis,” Thelen said. “And by the time they reach 12th grade, that number is reduced to 15%, which is still way too high,” he said. “If we’re ever going to reduce bullying, we have to give kids practical skills for how to handle it and how to get help.”
During the event, New York City Council Member Paul Vallone presented Vallo Transportation with a proclamation acknowledging the company for creating awareness of bullying prevention throughout the community, and highlighting the resources found at StopBullying.gov, a website with student, parent, and educator portals that include targeted facts, information, and resources for dealing with bullying and cyberbullying.
"Bullying in schools has been and continues to be a serious issue that has damaged, often irrevocably, the lives of so many children and their families. Awareness and education are critical tools in addressing the issue," Vallone said. "I'm proud to join Vallo Transportation and motivational speaker Tom Thelen for this educational event to combat bullying and foster an atmosphere of respect among students. Vallo has been a leader and taken great initiative on this issue and I was happy to present them with a proclamation in recognition of their work. I look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come."
Nearly 1,000 students from J.H.S .194 participated in the presentation. The event helped the school reinforce its message of promoting a non-bullying environment, according to Vallo Transportation.
To celebrate the milestone anniversary of the campaign, Vallo Transportation more than doubled its outreach efforts in the community this year by distributing thousands of anti-bullying materials. The company gave students special bookmarks and silicone wristbands, and encouraged them to use and wear them during the entire school year. A pledge printed on the bookmarks asks students to respect each other, refrain from bullying behavior, and to speak up to help a classmate if he or she is being bullied.
“As we commemorate five years of implementing this anti-bullying campaign, I’m proud to announce that to date we’ve delivered this important message to over 10,000 students and members of the community,” said Linda DeSabato, president of Vallo Transportation. “It’s a huge accomplishment and we’re so grateful for the support we’ve received over the years. Our plan is to continue raising awareness of bullying prevention among students, and we will continue to partner with the education community, elected officials, law enforcement, and other groups on outreach initiatives.”
For more information on Vallo Transportation’s anti-bullying initiative, go here.