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Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force at FMS

On Monday, September 30, 2013, members of the Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force came to Farnsworth Middle School to launch a new county-wide campaign aimed at creating a safer and more positive environment for all children. Led by Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy, the Task Force will provide free programs and services for all students, faculty and caregivers on bullying awareness and prevention.

Also on hand for the event were Albany County Legislators Mary Lou Connolly and Lee Carman, Guilderland Town Supervisor Kenneth D. Runion, Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center Prevention Educator Christin Guilder, special guest and bullying survivor Erica Gross, and Farnsworth Middle School Principal Michael Laster.

In kicking off the event, McCoy talked about the many increased pressures on today's youth. New communication tools like texting and social media provide countless ways for children to be bullied or harassed by others. "Kids should just have to worry about being kids," he said. "They should know that they have a safe environment, that is the most important thing." McCoy hopes that the new Task Force will set the stage for creating that safe environment, both at school and throughout the community, by promoting kindness and respect for all.

Legislators Connolly and Carman each talked about their own experiences with bullying: Connolly when she was a young student and Carman, whose daughter was bullied during her high school years.

"I was five years old when I was beat up on the school bus," said Connolly, "and I remember it still. It was a life-changing event that I will never forget." She encouraged the audience--comprised of middle school students, parents, and teachers-- to always take pride in who they are and to never forget that they are each unique and special.

Carman echoed that sentiment, saying that bullying can happen to anyone but that no one deserves it. "You can't be afraid to tell someone what is happening to you," he said. "No one deserves that treatment or disrespect."

Special guest Erica Gross shared her own personal experiences with bullying, which took place both in school and on social media throughout her high school years. "People at school made fun of me for my clothing, how I did my hair, and who I hung out with," she said. "I tried to hide it from others but I began to suffer physical trauma." Gross talked about her battles with anorexia and depression, issues she still battles with today.

Through its free services, the Bullying Prevention Task Force hopes to help students like Gross and prevent situations like that from occurring in the future. Prevention Educator Guilder talked about some of the many program currently available throughout Albany County and Principal Laster spoke to some specific initiatives currently underway at Farnsworth.

Runion, a member of the Task Force, noted that GCSD was chosen to be the host district for the launch of the new initiative based in part on its proactive approach to bullying prevention over the years. “Guilderland has consistently been on the forefront of this issue, and I would like to commend the district for that.”

The event concluded with a pledge, signed by those in attendance, to end bullying and harassment in our community.

FMS anti-bullying video and Public Service Announcements (PSAs)
As part of the Sept. 30 event, two anti-bullying videos made by Farnsworth Middle School students and the FMS Media Department were also shown to attendees. View the Flash Mob video as well as several Anti-bullying PSAs.

 

  • Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force event at FMS
  • Middle School students attend the Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force event at FMS
  • Middle School students attend the Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force event at FMS
  • Middle School students attend the Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force event at FMS
  • Video still of an FMS public service announcement
  • Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy
  • Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy
  • Crowd looks on during event
  • Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy speaks to attendees at the event
  • FMS studnets listen intently to Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy
  • Albany County Legislator Mary Lou Connolly
  • Albany County Legislator Mary Lou Connolly talk about her own experience with bullying
  • Albany County Legislator Lee Carman
  • Guilderland Town Supervisor Kenneth D. Runion
  • Christin Guilder from the Albany County Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center addresses the audience
  • Bullying victim Erica Gross talks about her experiences
  • FMS Principal Michael Laster addresses the audience
  • Albany County Legislator Mary Lou Connolly signs the anti-bullying pledge
  • Special guest Erica Gross signs the anti-bullying pledge
  • Albany County Legislator Lee Carman signs the anti-bullying pledge
  • Guilderland Town Supervisor Kenneth D. Runion signs the anti-bullying pledge
  • Special guest Christin Guilder signs the anti-bullying pledge
  • FMS Principal Michael Laster signs the anti-bullying pledge
  • Albany County Executive Daniel P. McCoy displays the anti-bullying pledge and asks the audience to also sign it
  • Members of the Albany County Bullying Prevention Task Force and guests
  • FMS students sign the anti-bullying pledge
  • FMS students sign the anti-bullying pledge
  • FMS students sign the anti-bullying pledge
  • FMS students sign the anti-bullying pledge
  • FMS students sign the anti-bullying pledge