One mother stepping up against bullying
Rally planned for Nov. 17
One Porterville mother has said “enough is enough.”
After learning about Porterville’s two recent suicides by young girls, and hearing stories about children being bullied in schools, Michelle Reneau decided to do something about it and began to plan an anti-bullying rally. It is set for noon Nov. 17 at Veterans Park, corner of Newcomb Street and Henderson Avenue.
“It’s time to stand up and speak out. Parents need to stand up and let their voices be heard,” Reneau said. “No more bullying in our community.”
Her 6-year-old son has had three incidents this year, she said — once a third-grader pushed him against the wall and tried to choke him in the bathroom during recess. More recently, he was punched in the face.
“It’s enough. I promised my son no one will hurt him again. I’m heartbroken that this is going on in our schools.”
Once she decided on the “Parents Against Bullying Rally,” the idea grew and more and more people began expressing an interest in helping her in getting the word out.
“I have 2,000 people backing me up on Facebook. We’ve reached out to television and radio,” she said. “I want everyone to tell their stories. I want to get the school districts involved. I want to get principals involved and wanting to do their part. They need to educate children on the power of words and actions.”
Children do not always understand the power of words or how severe actions can be, she said.
“They don’t know what kind of affect it can have on the other kids,” Reneau said. “Schools need to not just have an assembly but all together have a set of rules. They need to have counselors. It should be a requirement. It should be the same in every school in the Valley.
Not a ‘No Tolerance’ policy but maybe a three strikes policy with every one implementing it.”
Reneau expressed her concern over children possibly not feeling comfortable approaching a teacher, parent or other adult.
“We need to take the bully out of the equation and deal with it on a separate basis. Not just suspend the student. He’ll come back and attack more severely,” she said. “They say it starts at home.”
The Parents Against Bullying Rally raises awareness and is encouraging people to tell their stories about overcoming bullying.
Reneau plans on having guest speakers at the event, including public figures and representatives from the Tulare and Kings Counties Suicide Prevention Task Force.
She also plans on having music, vendors and educational tables.
Children’s T-shirts, each one with a saying written by a child, will be on display at the rally.
“Children will write how they feel when they are bullied,” Reneau said. “Their words are powerful.”
Reneau is asking for the community’s help to collect new, any color, plain children-sized T-shirts. They will be distributed to children to add writing to them.
The shirts may be dropped off from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday at All Star Barbershop, 600 N. Prospect St., and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday at The Porterville Recorder, 115 E. Oak St.
“I’m trying to get as many youth involved as possible,” Reneau said and added that she is hoping to get some local band or percussion students to participate.
In addition, white T-Shirts for men, women and children, with the words ‘Stop Bullying,’ are also on sale. They cost $15 or $17 for x-large and xx-large.
They may be ordered by calling Reneau. The shirts will be delivered free of charge locally, or they can be picked up at the rally. Shirts will also be on sale the day of the rally.
To order a shirt, for more information, to help, register to speak, or reserve a vending spot, call Reneau at 789-4218 or visit www.facebook.com/supportpab for updates on the rally.
Contact Esther Avila at 784-5000, Ext. 1045. Follow her on Twitter @Avila_recorder.