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Middle School Anti-Bullying Conference

Standing up to intimidation
New York Teacher
Middle School Anti-Bullying
Erica Berger

Kareem Nelson, the founder and CEO of Wheelchairs Against Guns, high-fives a student who talked about how to say the word “no.” Nelson, who has been in a wheelchair since he was shot many years ago, offers positive ways to deal with bullying, gangs and gun violence. 

Roughly 500 students and educators attended the UFT’s Middle School Anti-Bullying Conference on Oct. 25 at union headquarters, where they learned strategies to identify and prevent bullying and to become ambassadors for their schools. “If we could have accommodated more kids, we would have, which just goes to show you how big the need is for such events and for education around these topics,” said Richard Mantell, the UFT vice president for middle schools. He said it was moving to see many students open up about their lives and experiences during the day. Joe Vallone, a physical education and health teacher and the athletic director at MS 383 in West Farms, the Bronx, said the presentation that had the most impact on his 20 students was by Kareem Nelson, the founder and CEO of Wheelchairs Against Guns, who gave a powerful speech that helped students make connections about the consequences of a life of violence. “Even the following day, we had a conversation about it,” Vallone said.

Related Topics: Middle Schools