Hamilton Place launches anti-bullying initiative - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Hamilton Place launches anti-bullying initiative

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - In an effort to teach kids to be kind to one another, and to reject bullying behavior, Hamilton Place kicked off “Malls & Retailers Unite Against Bullying” today in association with National Bullying Prevention Month and sponsored by Captain McFinn and Friends. Today's event, hosted by WRCB anchor David Carroll, aims to open up dialogue on how individuals can take an active stand against bullying behavior.   Carroll was joined by Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, Hamilton County Schools Superintendent Rick Smith, School Board District 7 member Donna Horn, and students from East Hamilton High School's Leadership organization.

“Malls & Retailers Unite Against Bullying” was born as an extension of an ongoing program for children, based on the lessons of Captain McFinn and Friends.  The stories teach powerful lessons about kindness, loyalty, honesty, empathy, and care for the world's environment.

Hamilton Place has challenged all K – 2 classrooms in Hamilton County to create positive bullying prevention messages on paper chains to be displayed throughout the mall during the month of October.  The school with the most participation will be awarded a S.H.A.R.K. Patrol Kit, a bully prevention program to educate K-2 students on how to recognize bullying, and protect themselves and others against it. 

 “We view Hamilton Place as a social hub, and would like to use our platform to benefit the community and bring an end to bullying”, said Dan Wolfe, general manager for Hamilton Place.   He added that with hundreds of people visiting the mall each day, the mall is a perfect venue to promote this type of initiative.  

Hamilton Place invites the public to pick up and sign an “Anti-Bullying Pledge” throughout the month by visiting the Tourist Information Center, located on the upper level of the mall, near Sears.

Studies show that bullying causes serious social and emotional problems for children, including depression, low self-esteem and anxiety. Without intervention, bullies also suffer.  As adults, they commit more crimes, use more mental health services and have a higher risk of alcoholism. Recent high-profile bully cases resulting in suicide have prompted schools to adopt stronger anti-bullying policies.  Still, many situations go unnoticed, falling between the cracks of the most well-meaning program.

  • It is estimated that 160,000 children miss school every day due to fear of attack or intimidation by other students.  
  • 1-in-7 Students in Grades K-12 is either a bully or a victim of bullying.
  • 56% of all students have personally witnessed some type of bullying at school.
  • Bullying can take many forms but it usually includes the following types of behavior:   Physical – hitting, pushing; Verbal – slurs, put downs; Indirect – spreading rumors and exclusion; Cyber – harassment via texting or the internet
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