DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Students, educators, business leaders and others are coming together in Detroit to take a stand against bullying.
The Stand4Change anti-bullying rally is scheduled for 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. Friday at Campus Martius park. It’s being hosted by Defeat The Label, a Bloomfield Hills-based nonprofit that’s dedicated to empowering students to take a stand against bullying in their schools and communities.
Kevin Epling — whose 14-year-old son, Matt, killed himself after a 2002 high school hazing incident in East Lansing — is expected to speak at the event.
“We are talking about tolerance, acceptance and anti-bullying. We want people to be who they are and be accepted for who they are, and at the same time stand up for those who are different,” he said.
Epling said those who ignore others being bullied are almost as bad as the bullies themselves.
“There’s usually one person causing many problems while everybody else watches as it happens to someone,” he said.
Epling also said it’s not just the outsiders to who being bullied today, it’s the popular kids, too. He said his son was well-liked and had many friends, but the popular crowd at the new school he was attending didn’t like the competition.
“In school, it is really about a hierarchy and a pecking order, and we see a lot of very popular kids today being attacked because they are popular by other kids who want to be popular. It has changed a lot and I think adults really need to understand how much it’s drastically changed,” he said.
Epling said high school life isn’t the same as it was for his generation, and parents today need to realize that.
“You never get over the loss of a child because you do lose part of your future, that’s why my wife and I have been really cautious that we will take our grief with us and not let our grief take us,” he said.
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