Just days after a 15-year-old high school freshman in Staten Island leaped to her death in front of a train after being repeatedly harassed by classmates, the Flatbush Seventh-Day Adventist Church’s Flatbush Stars Pathfinder Club held an Anti-Bullying Parade and Fair.
As participants of all ages marched from the Flatbush Ave. Junction to the church at 261 E. 21st St., several youths gave out United Federation of Teachers fliers, informing people of the union’s Be Brave against Bullying initiative, which has a confidential anti-bullying hotline for students at (212) 709-3222, Mon. – Fri. 2:30 to 9:30 p.m. Parade participants also handed out an anti-bullying resource guide listing online and local resources that offer information, lessons and presentations on bullying and bullying related topics.
For some of the young marchers, the issue of bullying was very immediate. Ashley Alexander, for instance, a sixth grader at I.S. 239, said that a friend and she were going up the stairs when two seventh grade girls pushed them down the stairs, grabbed their stuff and threw it on the floor.
Phylicia Samuels, a fifth grader at Fahari Academy Charter School, told of a frightening bullying incident her first day at school. “This girl was being mean because she was jealous of me because I did all my work and everything,” Phylicia said. “She started calling me bad words and started pushing me. Then she took my bag and threw it down the stairs into the garbage.”
It was hearing about incidents like this that inspired Delroy Cooper, director of the church’s Pathfinder Club, and Authrine Gordon to organize this anti-bullying parade and fair. “Our mission is to unite our community and have a positive impact on our youth while we prayerfully hope to stop the violence in our schools and neighborhood,” Cooper stated.
Following the parade, the Flatbush Seventh-Day Adventist Church’s pastor, Richard Cahhoun, made everyone feel welcome in the church’s large meeting room where parents and children were able to pick up safety information provided by the New York City Fire Dept, listen to several speakers, and enjoy a nice lunch.