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Dr. Poiani Addresses Local Students

"Nobody likes a bully and no one wants to be bullied,” said Eileen Poiani, Ph.D., special assistant to the president at Saint Peter’s College, as she welcomed a crowd of approximately 3,000 students into the Victor R. Yanitelli, S.J. Recreational Life Center. “We are honored and privileged to have you here today at Saint Peter’s College so together we can ban bullying and develop respect for one another.”

The students, who hailed from Jersey City, Bayonne, West New York, Secaucus, Harrison, East Newark, Kearny, Hackensack, North Bergen and Guttenberg, joined together on February 8 with one goal in mind: to take a stand against bullying.

“Our response to bullying must surpass the State requirement of merely implementing an anti-bullying policy and continuing to treat bullying simply as a disciplinary issue,” said Charles T. Epps Jr., Ph.D., superintendent, Jersey City Public School District.

In light of recent tragedies across the country, the Jersey City Public School District recently created a District Bullying Task Force. Headed by Dr. Epps and comprised of administrators, teachers, students, parents and staff, the Task Force formed the “Be Bold, Ban Bullying” campaign, which kicked off with a high-energy rally, and will feature monthly anti-bullying workshops along with advertising and social media campaigns. The campaign is a public outreach effort designed to complement the District’s already existing anti-bullying policy, which is part of its Student Code of Conduct.

The rally featured performances by students from several schools and Mike Phillips, a jazz saxophonist who has worked with Stevie Wonder, Prince and Michael Jackson. Members of the audience cheered on fellow classmates as they sang, rapped, played musical instruments and danced.

The event also included the premiere of the District’s original movie, Somebody Not Me, an eleven-minute film that examines all facets of bullying. Additionally, prerecorded public service announcements were aired and an invitation was extended for students, staff and parents to sign an online petition against bullying as well as a bully prevention pledge.

Photo: Mike Phillips and Dr. Eileen Poiani