A Sachem East graduate is in the midst of a competition for her new school, The University of Rhode Island, to see if their anti-bullying PSA can get more views than nearby UConn.
Jacqueline Atkins is enrolled in a communications research methods course at URI and the PR head for BLUE, or Bullying Leaves Us Empty, a group created by the course to head up an anti-bullying campaign for the school.
The centerpiece of the campaign is its professionally developed PSA video entitled "An All Too Familiar Story." The video follows "John" a student at URI who is subjected to endless torment and bullying from three other students at the school. The video ends with a graphic, informing the viewers that John committed suicide the night he was bullied in the recreation room in front of a female student.
"Currently with one in four people reporting they are victims of bullying, campaigns like this are necessary in our fight to end this trend," Atkins told Patch in an email. "With so many victims of bullying, which sometimes leads to abuse or suicide, we ask for your support to put an end to bullying."
Atkins' class is competing against students at the University of Connecticut to see which class can draw the most attention to this issue. Atkins and her classmates are asking that viewers watch the PSA, visit the group's website and interact with its Facebook page or follow the group on Twitter.
Atkins graduated from Sachem East before the school district operated under the new initiatives of the Dignity for All Students Act (DASA). October was National Bullying Awareness Month, and this month Sachem East held a large anti-bullying program sponsored by Project SPECTRUM, which included a visit from novelist and Sachem parent Patty Blount, whose novel Send deals with bullying. Something Atkins states she supports with her own campaign.
"I think anything we can do to stop bullying is great," Atkins said. "And yes, bullying is a problem on the college level and beyond that as well."