Bateman team hosts anti-bullying summit
Published: Thursday, February 28, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 28, 2013 19:02
As local high school students participated in an exercise in Monroe Hall on Saturday, public relations senior Haley Humiston startled the group by popping balloons being used.
The exercise was part of Loyola’s Bateman Team’s summit on anti-bullying. Students from three local high schools attended the event to learn how to start anti-bullying exercises at their own schools.
The summit was the culmination of the Bateman Team’s month-long “Step Up, Reach Out” anti-bullying campaign. The campaign will be judged in the national competition held by the Public Relations Students Society of America.
The campaign also included 21 workshops at six different schools and churches throughout the New Orleans area. Public relations junior Leah Whitlock said she feels that the key to spreading these exercises to local schools is by having fun.
“Our workshops have created something where they’re enjoying themselves while also working which I think is helping to instill the anti-bullying practices into their everyday lives,” Whitlock said.
According to Humiston, the PRSSA competition calls for the team to “create a culturally relevant, long-standing campaign that informs of long and short-term consequences and ways to prevent and report bullying.”
Jakari Madison, a freshman at International High School, attended the summit on Saturday. She said that although she has not noticed bullying at her school, what she learned offers her a new outlook on the anti-bullying movement.
“I’ve known about it, but I’ve never really looked into it. How I look at it now is with a different perspective,” Madison said.
Greg Swanson, AP English teacher at Ben Franklin High School, attended the summit with students. He said he believes that student-run efforts are more effective than a message from the teachers.
“Kids don’t want to hear from old farts like me. If it comes from kids, it’s going to be more effective than me getting up and saying, ‘Don’t bully,’” Swanson said.
Bateman team advisor and associate professor of the School of Mass Communication Cathy Rogers says that she chose the five-person team in September. It consists of Humiston, Whitlock, mass communication senior Charlie LaRock, public relations senior Vannia Zelaya and public relations senior Dwayne Fontenette, who acts as the team’s account executive.
PRSSA gave Rogers the anti-bullying topic shortly before she selected the five. She then assembled them and gave them the topic. After that, the team had hours of meetings and research to get ready for February’s campaign.
According to team members, research consisted of interviews of twenty-eight educators, two parent focus groups and 260 surveys of high school and Loyola students.
Rogers said that it is so demanding that she would not consider students who already work full-time to be apart of the Bateman team. However, she is impressed by the lack of conflict present in this year’s team.
“This may be the first year where there is no inter-personal drama on the team,” Rogers said.
LaRock agreed, saying that even through the long hours together the team has stayed focused on the goal.
“It’s very business-oriented. There’s not a lot of personal talk going on. We’re really driven to meet all of our objectives,” LaRock said.
From here the team must submit its book covering the entirety of the campaign to the PRSSA by March 29, according to Whitlock. In April, the group finds out if it has made the finals, where the top three teams present their campaigns in person.
Karl Gommel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org