Christiansburg Student Fights Back Against Bullying

     Bullying in schools is a serious issue that frequently goes unaddressed. For most students school is a place full of positive social interaction but for the victims of bullying, school can be a dreaded nightmare. The victim can experience stress, physical harm or a lifetime of insecurities.

     The Virginia Department of Education has a record of 6,600 counts of bullying for the 2007-2008 school year. However, most bullying goes unreported because the victim is too embarrassed to acknowledge the problem.

     Alexandra Wolff is a 17-year-old that underwent years of bullying starting in elementary school. She has now decided to turn her painful past into a stepping stone for public school systems to help prevent bullying. When she was younger Alexandra Wolff did not understand why she felt different from the other kids at school. When asked about the confusing time she said, “For a lot of time I kept it to myself because I felt like I was a target and a victim and it was very embarrassing and I was almost ashamed that this was happening to me I felt like why do I have to be the different one why can’t I be normal and be with other kids.”

     After years of torment Alexandra Wolff worked with legislators in her home state of Maryland to pass a bill requiring schools to try harder to prevent bullying. The bill defines the model policy for bullying. It helps a victim tell someone if they are being bullied, teachers them where they can go for help and how to end bullying. The bill also touches on how to tell a parent that their child is being bullied. After switching schools Alexandra has moved to Christiansburg, VA where she has continued her fight against bullying. Alexandra is currently trying to help persuade school board members to create victim hotlines and student coalitions to address the problem.

     Alexandra and her mother Antonia Wolff, believe two of the biggest keys to ending bullying is education on the topic and community involvement. On how she thinks schools handle bullying these days Alexandra said, “I don’t think the issue is handled very well because so many times bullying is overlooked and so many times administrators and teachers think, kids will be kids, so what, kids have to tough-in up, in the real world you’re not going to have someone following you, protecting you, you’re going to have to do it yourself.”

      If you suspect your child is being bullied there are some clear signs to look out for number one being your child not wanting to go to school. They might also be upset on the weekends or anxious at the thought of going back to school on Monday. If your child has no interest in communicating with other children in their age group you might want to ask them about bullying because they might be scared of their peers or think they are against them. “Another sign might be your child not enjoying things that they once did enjoy,” says Alexandra Wolff.

     Antonia Wolff is proud of her daughter and all of the change that she has helped bring about. “Speaking out about the very thing that upset her so badly has helped her greatly so I’m terribly proud. I couldn’t have done it at her age,” said Antonia. Alexandra has recently taken up acting classes to help build up her self confidence and talks to church groups about her struggles. She hopes telling her story can help someone else out there in a similar situation.

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