Bullying doesn’t just happen during the school year and on school property. It can happen online, over the phone, at summer camp, in our community centers and anywhere adult supervision is limited. That is why we launched Stand Up Orlando and why it’s important that we raise awareness and educate students and adults year-round that bullying is not tolerated in Orlando.
Since we launched Stand Up Orlando in October 2014, and through our partnerships with the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center and the Zebra Coalition, we have engaged more than 2,500 City of Orlando middle school students in anti-bullying programming and provided outreach and training to more than 5,000 parents and others about what to do and how to address bullying incidents they might witness.
In May, Mr. John Halligan came to Orlando to share with students and parents about losing his son Ryan to suicide in 2007 at the age of 13 after having been ridiculed and humiliated by peers at school and online. Mr. Halligan has been featured on Primetime, PBS Frontline and Oprah and during his time in Orlando, he shared his story and the lessons he has learned about bullying with nearly 2,100 middle school students and approximately 300 parents and adults.
Recently our partners joined forces to train more than 250 youth counselors and managers who work with and serve the children in our Families, Parks and Recreation Department. It’s important for these members of our City family to be adequately prepared and educated to ensure that bullying doesn’t impact the more than 5,000 students who are enrolled in our community and neighborhood centers, youth programs and summer camps on an annual basis.
A few weeks ago, our Orlando Police officers brought awareness to Stand Up Orlando and anti-bullying by hanging posters in the City’s community centers and other locations throughout the community where students frequent during the summer months.
I am thankful for our partners like the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center and the Zebra Coalition who provide programming and awareness for students and adults. I am proud that all City of Orlando departments are taking active roles in our anti-bullying efforts. And, I am grateful for the many sponsors who make Stand Up Orlando possible…it is with this attitude and partnerships like these that Orlando remains a place known throughout the world for its inclusiveness of everyone regardless of race, gender, religion or sexual orientation.
– Buddy Dyer, Mayor