Brooke Bliss, 16, says she has been bullied for years at school. Now, she's hoping other teens will hear her story and help put an end to bullying.
Brooke says in junior high school in the North Syracuse School District, several girls ganged up on her and started calling her names. Then, the bullying turned physical. Brooke says other teens pushed her into a wall and off of a weight machine, causing injuries to her hip and side.
"I just wanted to stay in bed.I didn't want to do anything," says Brooke. "I didn't even want to walk outside of my house because I just felt like it would never end, and I didn't want to see anyone or talk to anyone."
Over the years, Brooke says the bullying continued. Her mother, Wanda, says she repeatedly reported the incidents to the North Syracuse School District, but the bullying continued.
"We were constantly told, 'I am not aware of it,' even though Brooke would report it, other kids that were witnesses to what was going on, they would report it," says Wanda.
North Syracuse school officials say they can't talk about this particular case because of student confidentiality issues. However, Superintendent Kim Dyce Faucette says the district has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to bullying, and every complaint is investigated.
"That investigation includes interviewing the student who's making the complaint, interviewing those who are being accused, interviewing staff, interviewing witnesses," says Dyce Faucette.
If the investigation finds students are bullying other students, the offenders can face penalties, everything from counseling to suspension. The district also has an anti-bullying committee to monitor issues related to bullying within the district and develop a district policy.
As for Brooke, she's spending her junior year being tutored at home. She says she's now afraid of social situations, but she hopes someday she'll be able to return to school without being afraid. She also urges other teens who are being bullied to be strong and speak out.
"Keep reporting it, and keep trying to make people listen because it really won't stop," says Brooke. "Just keep your head up, and know that things will get better. You just really have to believe it."
What do you think can be done to put an end to bullying? Do you know of anyone with a similar story to Brooke's? Post your comments below: