South Euclid Municipal Court Judge Gayle Williams-Byers headlined an energetic and creative anti-bullying assembly at Memorial Junior High during the morning of Friday, April 17th, in the new gym. All grade levels attended the assembly, which was held to raise student awareness regarding bullying and the importance of taking a stand against it when they see it occur. A former Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Judge Williams-Byers explained the many different forms of bullying, as it not only occurs in a physical sense, but also takes place through texting and social media. Using concrete examples, Judge Williams-Byers urged students to think before they responded to a text message or posted on social media, as any pictures or words they post are permanent and do not disappear by simply deleting them from their phone or computer. Judge Williams-Byers also warned students that their actions can cause lasting and serious consequences not only for the victim of bullying, but for them as well, as personal or inappropriate words and images can possibly lead to criminal charges.
In addition to explaining the dangers of bullying, Judge Williams-Byers also took a proactive approach by challenging students to be an ‘upstander’, not a bystander in regards to bullying. By telling an adult when they witness any form of bullying taking place, they take the power away from those who are engaging in bullying by exposing their words and actions. After her remarks, Judge Williams-Byers engaged in an interactive question and answer session with students.
The anti-bullying assembly also featured several presentations by Memorial staff and students. Princess Duncan opened the assembly by reading a story about the harmful effects of bullying, and was followed by a live skit and performance incorporating music and dance by members of MAC Jewels that caused the students watching to clap and stomp along to the infectious beat. Security guard Lamont Judge and the MJH Boys were next with a dramatic presentation that featured a hip-hop inspired message about taking a stand against bullying. Student Council President Jenna Perry had the privilege of introducing Judge Gayle Williams-Byers to the student body as well.
In the next few weeks, the students and staff at Memorial will continue to emphasize an anti-bullying message by incorporating activities and discussions about bullying during Intervention and Enrichment periods, as well as by having each student sign an anti-bullying pledge.
The South Euclid-Lyndhurst Schools wish to thank Judge Gayle Williams-Byers for bringing her inspiring message to Memorial, as well as congratulate all students for taking a courageous stand against bullying.