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Anti-bullying Advocate Shares Personal Story with ROC Students

Jamie Nabozny
University of Wisconsin
Jamie Nabozny

A national anti-bullying advocate is visiting Rochester this week to share his personal story with city school students and staff.

The bullying for Jamie Nabozny started in middle school. That’s when he was targeted for being gay. Nabozny says the harassment escalated to a beating that sent him to the hospital. He says that's why he travels around the country talking with children and youth about the dangers of bullying.

"Kids are affected by bullying every single day whether they are the victim, whether they are the bully, or whether they are watching it and bothered by it.”

Students attending the Rochester STEM High School are watching a nearly 40-minute documentary titled “Bullied”, which chronicles the life of Nabozny. STEM senior Jennifer Huynh says watching the film and talking about bullying is something that's needed.

"Certain people they don't show their feelings that they are being bullied or anything but deep down, a lot of things could be going through they mind and you never know what the outcome will be when they've had enough of it," Huynh says. “And this video will help them think of some ideas that can help others."

Nabozny says there’s usually only a small group of kids who are responsible for the offenses.

"They are the loudest kids in the school. They’re the ones whose voices are being heard. What we need is to have the majority of students who really want the schools to be a safe, welcoming place for all students to speak up, to have the courage to tell students that enough is enough that they're not going to tolerate what they are doing anymore."

Huynh says she has no problem speaking out against someone bullying another student.

Nabozny also held a training session in schools with teachers in the Rochester City School District on how to handle bullying.

Nabozny won a Landmark Lawsuit in Federal court that establishes that all young people including Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual or Transgendered deserve a safe educational experience.