Students from Seton Hall University have launched a group whose aim is to educate youth about how to recognize and overcome bullying. The students have been working this past week with children aged six to 18, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Newark.
“It’s been a great experience. The kids have really responded well to the program,” said Sabrina Browne, a public relations major at the school and one of the founders of LEAP (“lead, educate, act, prevent”) on Bullying.
During the past week, Browne and her classmates have been holding sessions at the Boys and Girls Club during which they teach students about how to spot bullying, its effects on its victims and the potential consequences for those guilty of the practice. The students have created a mascot, “Leaping Leo,” as a learning device used during the age-appropriate sessions.
“When we were with the younger students yesterday, we talked about how Leo was bullied on the bus and no one wanted to sit with him,” she said, adding that the session for juniors and seniors in high school will delve into how bullying can lead to suicide.
The program’s final session will be Saturday, when there will be a celebration and reading from children’s author Geena Bean.
LEAP has already gotten noticed by Mayor Cory Booker and Justin Tuck of the New York Giants, who recently tweeted about it. That kind of attention is another aim of the program: the Seton Hall students are taking part in the Bateman Competition, which is sponsored by the Public Relations Student Society of America. The annual, nationwide competition invites college students studying public relations to create a campaign designed to raise awareness of a particular issue -- such as bullying.
Although Browne and her fellow Seton Hall students don’t yet know how they’ll fare -- the competition doesn’t end until next week -- they have crafted a pretty catchy slogan.
“If you see bullying, be more than a bystander, be an upstander!” Browne said.