Monday, February 28, 2011
Don't Let Anyone Call You Stupid: A Lesson in Bullying Prevention from Michael Angelakos and P.S. 22
(If you saw the Oscars last night, you'll understand why I am re-posting this story about the boy from P.S. 22 who needed a kind word and a little reinforcement from a compassionate adult. The adult who paid attention just happened to be Passon Pit's lead singer Michael Angelakos. This little boy is probably now in middle school but hopefully Michael's words will stick with him throughout life. And just as a side note, I was proud of the Academy for including Staten Island's pride and joy!)
Experts agree that the role of the "bystander" is key in blunting the affects of bullying. The Center for Social and Emotional Education and other experts in the field refer to the key role of the bystander as the upstander, to indicate that standing "by" is not helpful...but standing "up" can make all the difference.
You could just be minding your own business and WHAM, there's a need to step up and support someone who is being mistreated. In that moment, a decision has to be made. Do I step in to the problem or do I just let that person/child fend for themselves? Do I care enough to lend a sympathetic ear, or tell the bully to "stop," or get additional help... or do I just stand by?
During this recording with the chorus from P.S. 22, Michael Angelakos, lead singer of the award-winning band Passion Pit, proved he is an UPSTANDER. In under 30 seconds, he could have possibly changed this lucky child's life.
Do we have to be a celebrity to be an upstander? No way. In that moment and in that child's eyes, it's extremely likely that Angelakos was just a person saying the right thing at the right time.
So to every upstander out there, ROCK ON.