Anti-Bullying Conference in D.C.

Hi Everybody,

On December 6, 2010, Wide Angle was able to participate in the Bullying is Not a Rite of Passage conference in Washington D.C. I had a wonderful time visiting Washington with my peers.

The event was put on by the Academy for Educational Development. AED is a nonprofit organization working globally to create enduring solutions to critical problems in health, education, social and economic development. Eight Wide Angle students split into three working groups, each with a Wide Angle staff person to help them. The social networking group, with Jessica Baroody, promoted the event through tweeting and posting on facebook, and they did an awesome job. The interview crew, with Sarah Milinski, captured teen participants’ thoughts and experiences; and, they even got to interview Jamie Nabozny, the main character of the screened documentary, Bullied. The last team was with David Sloan, the team I was in, and we were responsible for capturing the entire event. I also was lucky enough to go up and
speak as a panelist and represent Wide Angle and my role as a filmmaker in Baltimore, focusing on the same topic.

During the event, we watched the documentary Bullied: A Student, A School, And A Case that Made History, which looked at how Jamie was bullied in school, and how he fought back and won an important court case against the school system that failed to protect him. It was very heart-grabbing and eye-opening to the fact that a lot of kids out there face similar experiences. Up on stage, I got to talk about ways to stop bullying. I explained that it is important to be a leader and not a follower. Most people are not bullies. Most people are by-standers who do not stand up for people who are being bullied. I also talked about how my movie, Bullying in School, which I recently finished with the help of my peers in Wide Angle’s Baltimore Speaks Out! Program.

When speaking, I was really nervous and started off a little wobbly, but eventuallyI went on strong and was very proud of myself for doing what I did. After the conference, the interview team captured awesome interviews from people in the crowd as we enjoyed a reception provided by AED. Overall, it was a wonderful experience and I think everyone involved in Wide Angle should have an opportunity like this. I just want to thank Wide Angle for everything.

Da-El Clapperton, 14.